Barcelona vs Liverpool – 21:00 SAST
European heavyweights Barcelona and Liverpool collide for a high quality Champions League semi-final first leg at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night.
The pair go head-to-head for a place in the UCL final following impressive campaigns on the continent’s top football stage.
Barcelona played a patient game to overcome Manchester United in the quarter-finals, coming away from Old Trafford with the only goal of the first leg.
It suited them just nicely for the return leg in Catalonia, with that man Lionel Messi producing yet another virtuoso performance.
The Argentinian maestro scored twice in three first half minutes, helped twice by mistakes from the English side, to set up a comprehensive 3-0 victory on the night.
Philippe Coutinho added the gloss on the 4-0 aggregate success, firing a warning shot to his former club with a classy long-range strike in the second half.
Liverpool are one step away from repeating their run to the final last season after finding the knockouts a damn sight easier than the group stage this time around.
The Reds inched their way into the last 16 out of a group containing Paris Saint-Germain and Napoli.
But they’ve clicked into gear since the turn of the year.
Boss Jurgen Klopp returned to old rivals Bayern Munich and watched his side pull off an imposing 3-1 victory at the Allianz Arena to seal progression from the last 16.
They stepped it up a notch against the potentially troublesome FC Porto in the quarter-finals, first cruising to a 2-0 first leg lead at Anfield.
The English Premier League title-chasers then turned on the style in Portugal.
Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino all scored, as did Virgil van Dijk, to seal a booming 6-1 aggregate victory at the Estadio do Dragao.
Now they’ll have to repeat the feat on one of the biggest stages of them all to stay in with a chance of going one better than last season’s final defeat to Real Madrid.