Barcelona vs LiverpoolUEFA Champions League, KO: 20:00 May 1, 2019, Nou Camp
IT'S looking increasingly like Liverpool's brave bid to land their first title since 1990 will come up just short as relentless Manchester City show little sign of slipping up.
But the cruel blow of missing out on the championship, despite amassing a potential tally of 97 points, will be cushioned if Jurgen Klopp's men lift the European Cup.
After scraping into the last 16 with a nerve-jangling Anfield win over Napoli, the Reds have hardly put a foot wrong in the Champions League.
Their 3-1 away win over Bayern Munich was hugely impressive, inspired by newly-crowned Player of the Year Virgil van Dijk, and Liverpool then swatted aside a dangerous Porto side.
After a 2-0 win at Anfield, I thought Klopp's side would have a difficult second leg in Oporto but instead they strolled it, thrashing them 4-1 with another superb away performance.
Now they will have to deliver another accomplished display on their travels as they step into the Lionel's den at the Nou Camp.
Manchester United were ripped apart in Barcelona by Lionel Messi in the last eight and the Barca magician presents the biggest threat to Liverpool's hopes of reaching a second successive final.
Klopp's defence did a decent job of shackling Messi's great rival Cristiano Ronaldo in last year's showpiece, only to be undone by another Galactico as Gareth Bale stepped off the bench to score a spectacular overhead kick.
But that loss to Real Madrid was as much down to the blunders of keeper Loris Karius as the brilliance of Bale and with Alisson now between the sticks, Liverpool are much more solid at the back.
Van Dijk has been imperious all season and now faces his biggest challenge as Messi bids to cap another breathtaking season by inspiring Barca to their first Euro final since 2015.
He was benched for the weekend clash with Levante with a view to resting him for Liverpool but Messi was thrown on at the break with the score at 0-0.
And he underlined his importance to the side by scoring the goal that sealed the La Liga title, his 10th domestic league triumph in a remarkable career.
The Argentinian replaced Philippe Coutinho at the weekend and it remains to be seen if the former Anfield hero will face his old side.
Barcelona have yet to see value for money on the £142million they paid Liverpool for the Brazilian, with the playmaker only showing sporadic signs of brilliance.
The Reds fared far better from that deal, with the cash financing the additions that turned Klopp's side from pretenders to contenders.
But it's amazing how often former players come back to haunt their old clubs and if you fancy Coutinho to hurt the Reds he's a generous 13/5 with Unibet for anytime scorer. His main rival for a starting slot is Ousmane Dembele and the French maverick is a decent 11/4 in the same market with Paddy Power.
Coutinho isn't the only Anfield old boy in Barca's ranks and Luis Suarez is more likely to grab a goal against the Reds. William Hill have boosted the price on Suarez scoring in a Barcelona win to 13/2 and that could be worth a few quid.
Liverpool have received a boost with the news striker Robert Firmino has been passed fit to return to training. The Brazilian missed Friday's win over Huddersfield with a muscle injury but could recover in time to start here.
If he's free to join Sadio Mane and Mo Salah in the Reds attack then I fancy Liverpool to get a priceless away goal. Barcelona's defence still doesn't impress and they almost shipped a late leveller to Levante on Sunday, with only the post coming to their rescue.
Manchester United also threatened early on at the Nou Camp before falling apart after Messi's opener and the pace of Klopp's attack could cause them problems. So try backing a Barcelona win with both teams to score, which is 58/25 with Marathonbet.
There are a few interesting requested bets at Oddschecker and I like the look of both teams to score, over 2.5 goals and either team to win, which is 6/5 with Ladbrokes.
This UEFA Champions League match between Barcelona and Liverpool will be played on May 1, 2019 and kick off at 20:00