Liverpool vs FC BarcelonaUEFA Champions League, KO: 20:00 May 7, 2019, Anfield
AFTER a truly stunning season, Liverpool's hopes of having anything to show for their enormous efforts over the last nine months hinge on two home games in the space of five days.
Anfield may have hosted some of the most special nights in Champions League history, but relying on that Merseyside magic may not be enough to overcome a formidable 3-0 first leg lead held by Barcelona.
Despite that daunting deficit the bookmakers believe that Jurgen Kloppp's side can win on the night and are 7/5 (Bet 365) favourites to do so. The draw is a general 11/4 and if you fancy Barcelona to beat Liverpool for the second time in six days they are a noticeable 9/5 (BetVictor)
On the back of last weeks 3-0 first leg win Ernesto Valverde gave his star studded starting 11 a weekend off in La Liga. Consequently, Celta Vigo beat the Spanish champions 2-0, but with the title already wrapped up, Tuesdays trip to Liverpool took priority.
Liverpool by contrast endured a laborious and nervy Saturday night in Newcaste and needed a late Divock Origi goal to preserve their Premier League title pursuit. The Belgian was only on the park due to star man Mo Salah sustaining a head injury and as such the electrifying Egyptian will sit out this semi-final, along with fellow forward Roberto Firmino.
In their absence the Reds will rely on the Anfield crowd being their 12th man in trying to overcome this arduous assignment. A hostile welcome will await Barcelona when they come up against a side who have not been beaten in their last 19 games at Anfield.
Roared on by a noisy Reds support Liverpool should come flying out of the traps in trying to salvage their slim chances of making a second Champions League final appearance in 12 months. Klopp's men should have scored in the Nou Camp and I think find they can draw first blood against the Catalan giants by being the team to score first at 10/11 (Ladbrokes)
With two thirds of Liverpool's traditional front three missing, many punters will look to 20 goal Sadio Mane to be the man to inspire an improbable recovery. The Senegalese wide-man went close to scoring last Wednesday, but so did James Milner. On a evening high of emotion, the Reds penalty taker could be worth a flutter to find the net at 13/2 (Bet 365)
Barcelona will believe a goal of any sorts for them will rubber stamp their place in next months Champions League final. After sumptuously scoring his 600th goal for Barcelona in the semi-final first leg, another Lionel Messi strike would surely shatter scouse dreams.
Klopp's side are once again faced with the onerous task of preventing the little magician from lighting up this seasons Champions League. Even by his phenomenally high standards the Argentine is currently enjoying a sensational run of form. Back the brilliant Barcelona man to score at Anfield at 6/5 (Betfred)
The Messi factor alone makes this look like mission impossible for Liverpool, however Klopp's “heavy metal” football will ensure the home side don't give Barcelona an easy ride.
That coupled with Barcelona's slick style points towards plenty of goalmouth action at Anfield. The Reds will have to take risks in a brave attempt to remain in the competition, but could leave themselves exposed to cutthroat counter attacks. Therefore, back a high scoring semi- final with over 3.5 goals at an attractive 8/5 (Paddy Power)
This UEFA Champions League match between Liverpool and FC Barcelona will be played on May 7, 2019 and kick off at 20:00