In a recent interview, current Leganes manager Mauricio Pellegrino spoke on the available threat that both these teams pose and stated 2 Barcelona players and 3 Liverpool players who he thinks can change the nature of the game with just a solitary move. These players are Messi and Suarez for Barcelona and Firmino, Salah and Mane for Liverpool.
If we look at that statement objectively, there is very little to argue about. Both Messi and Suarez have been the most consistent forwards in Barcelona’s front line, with both Dembele’s and Coutinho’s season riddled with either injuries, or some periods of inconsistencies.
| Messi and Suarez during today's training session pic.twitter.com/jmOWAbZBT3
— BarçaTimes (@BarcaTimes) April 30, 2019
When analyzing the players within their respective teams for the upcoming match, we can clearly see why Pellegrino feels that these players can turn the tide of the game.
Both Suarez and Messi have been in top form as of late, with Suarez pitching in with 24 goals and 12 assists in all competitions and Messi notching an incredible 46 goals and 22 assists in all competitions. Such form has helped Barcelona clinch their 26th La Liga title, and their 4th in 5 years. With the title being done and dusted, Barcelona will now shift their complete focus on the Champions league, in search for a possible treble.
Liverpool famous front 3, have also had incredible seasons. Both Salah and Mane landed their 21st and 20th goals for the Premier League season, in their 5-0 destruction over Huddersfield. The only negative from that match, from a Liverpool perspective, was the absence of their number 9 Roberto Firmino.
Having suffered a groin tear during training, he was forced to sit out of the Huddersfield match, with his place being taken by Daniel Sturridge. Although he may not be the most prolific forward, what makes him so crucial to Jurgen Klopp’s team is his work ethic, both on and off the ball, and his ability to drop deep and help build up play.
He now faces a race against time to recover from his injury, and try and be in contention for a place in Klopp’s starting eleven.
Irrespective of what happens, both Jurgen Klopp and Ernesto Valverde’s men are bound to give us what should be the juiciest tie in recent Champions League history.