" What Liverpool did at Barcelona that no team has done before this season

What Liverpool did at Barcelona that no team has done before this season

With 52.42 percent of the ball, the Reds took the Catalans on at their own game and achieved statistics that no other visitor to the Camp Nou has this season.

Fortunately for Barcelona, their visitors couldn’t take the chances they created with James Milner, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah all guilty of squandering great openings.

Under Ernesto Valverde, the LaLiga champions have drifted away from their trademark possession based game and midfield technician Arthur Melo was dropped for Wednesday’s game as the coach sought to keep it tight.

In spite of that, Liverpool had more touches in the home team’s box than any other side this campaign, 42.

The same can be said for the 547 passes completed during the 90 minutes, and the 52.42 percent of possession they kept.

In addition, only one team has had more shots against Barcelona at the Camp Nou in 2018/19, the Reds managing 15.

Valverde clearly saw Liverpool as a threat, hence his deployment of Arturo Vidal from the start in a fluid 4-4-2 system.

However, with only 12 shots - and just five before the hour mark - even the Blaugrana coach couldn’t have predicted the three-goal margin they will be in protection of at Anfield.

Once again, Barcelona turned to Lionel Messi to make the game safe after Luis Suarez’s opener and Liverpool’s subsequent misses.

The Argentine popped up to nudge the second of the night over the line, an uncharacteristic rebound goal.

He then whipped home a memorable free-kick from long-range to put the tie almost beyond doubt.

In response, Jurgen Klopp admitted that he was at a loss to explain how his side now have such a mountain to climb in pursuit of a second straight Champions League final.

"I don't know if we can play much better," said Klopp.

"I told the boys I'm proud of how we played. Against a side like this, playing this kind of football, I was completely happy.

"In the end, nobody is really interested - probably only football nerds will think about it - because it was about the result, and we lost 3-0.

"I can work really well with this game. I will use this game to show the boys what is possible. It was a brave performance that was very passionate, very lively and, in a lot of moments, creative and direct."

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