Liverpool arrive in Barcelona for an attempted Champions League raid on the Nou Camp reinforced by the return to fitness of a gaggle of players.
Roberto Firmino has been striving to prove his fitness ahead of the semi-final first leg while Fabinho is considered a near certainty to start despite failing to be 100 percent before the clash with Huddersfield last Friday.
Jurgen Klopp said: “If Bobby is 100 per cent ready to play then he will maybe play. He is here, he trained today, we have tomorrow another session and then I have to make a decision. That’s it.”
Barcelona will be hoping that their two former Liverpool attackers, Luis Suarez and Coutinho help Lionel Messi unlock the Reds defence for the first time. Liverpool might be more concerned with keeping them all out but for the fans, Messi drawing a blank against their beloved Reds again would be something they would cherish.
Each side has one long-term absentee, Barcelona’s Rafinha sidelined by a knee injury while Adam Lallana’s return to action was short lived as he suffered a muscle injury. Lallana is yet to play a full 90 minutes this season and last played for Liverpool’s first team in the 2-1 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage on 17 March.
The progress of Barca’s Clément Lenglet this season serves to display that the club can still take players to the next level of their career.
Liverpool will look to their midfield trio of Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum to stifle Barcelona’s creativity and bring their physical presence to bear on their rivals.
Klopp said a stalemate would be an acceptable result for the visiting Reds, with a score draw preferred.
He added: ” A draw would not be the worst result in the world. So many people have come to play Barcelona with a plan and then got a proper knock. We saw the game against Real Sociedad [last weekend], they did well; Levante did well [on Saturday], but Barcelona won. Messi said before the season he wants to bring back this cup and that sounds like a threat to all of us!”
Barcelona vs Liverpool Starting XIs
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitić, Busquets, Arthur; Messi, Suárez, Coutinho
Out: Rafinha (knee)
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Out: Lallana (muscular)
Doubtful: Firmino (groin)
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