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Messi masterclass, Van Dijk exposed, Salah missed an open goal, Liverpool battered and without an away goal

Messi masterclass, Van Dijk exposed, Salah missed an open goal, Liverpool battered and without an away goal

Lionel Messi and his brand of magic made it a night to remember when Liverpool travelled to the Camp Nou for the first leg of their semi-final tie.

The 31-year-old was the catalyst for yet another brilliant performance by Barcelona, netting twice in the second half to put his side firmly in control ahead of the away leg.

Jurgen Klopp made four changes to the side that won against Huddersfield on Sunday, with Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, Fabinho and James Milner coming in for Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dejan Lovren, Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge.

The hosts made three changes, with Sergio Busquets, Lionel Messi and Sergi Roberto coming in for Arthur, Ousmane Dembele and Nelson Semedo.

It was a tight and entertaining first half, with both sides creating chances. Naby Keita picked up a knock to the groin in the 24th minute and had to be substituted for Jordan Henderson.

Opportunities flying at both end, Jordi Alba took control in the 26th minute, whipping a dangerous cross towards the path of an onrushing Suarez, who ran between two centre backs and flicked the ball over Alisson to score.

The Reds should have equalised in the 35th minute, as an advancing Mane failed to keep his effort below the crossbar.

Liverpool started the second half on the front foot, looking to establish their dominance and get back a goal. Marc-Andre Ter Stegen denied James Milner twice and another Mo Salah effort in between to keep Barcelona’s edge.

But it was not to be, as Barcelona doubled their lead in the 75th minute through Messi, who latched on to a deflected ball from Luis Suarez’s initial effort hitting the crossbar, slotting it in past Alisson.

Liverpool’s defence was looking vulnerable throughout the game particularly with Virgil van Dijk not being able to stamp his authority on the game.

Messi showed his game changing genius again in the 82nd minute, when he struck a sumptuous free-kick from 35 yards, against a hapless Alisson who was at full stretch, putting the game past Liverpool.

Salah missed a golden chance to equalize when he hit the post, with an open goal staring at the Egyptian forward.

With Van Dijk being criticized for not being his absolute best, especially during the first & the second goal and Salah missing to score the crucial away goal for Liverpool, the Reds were truly battered at Camp Nou and have a daunting task at home if they want to reach the final of the UEFA Champions League 2018/19 at Madrid on the 2nd of June.