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Football News: Barcelona v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective

Barcelona v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective
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Barcelona v Liverpool A Liverpool Perspective

 


Hard to know how to start with that game. The result was awful but the performance was far from awful. For large portions of the second half Barca were pegged back and Liverpool should really have made the score very different. In fact that was the main difference, the finishing. Barca were clinical while Liverpool missed their chances.

It did not help that Liverpool defensively were asleep and no one was tracking runs, which allowed Barcelona an easy route to goal. A great Barcelona side would have scored more, because they would have taken the game to Liverpool. The worrying thing is that this side is not that great and still put 3 in the back of the net, without Messi really shining in the way he can.

It was just flashes from Messi, rather than a 'masterclass' as I have laughably seen it termed. But then, when it comes to Messi the media are so busy fawning over him they get all hyperbolic over everything he does and fail to see reality. The reality is that he is the best player in the world right now, but he never had to perform to his best or give a masterclass to win the game for Barca. The reality is that he is on a different level to anyone on the Liverpool team. He is also carrying a Barcelona team that is not actually that good or well managed.

 


Valverde - it is easy to see why he is not a fan favourite, his team is not at the same level as previous Barca sides and he does not have them dominating the ball as they did in the past. Part of that is down to having a much weaker side than the teams he is following. It is basically Messi and 10 others. He could do more tactically but they have so little competition in domestic competition that he has not been forced to evolve and adapt the team to suit all 11 players, rather than just 1. Rating: 5.

 

ter Stegen - was not really tested the way he should have been and showed a few dodgy moments, including failing to take an easy catch but was able to get to it in time. He needed to be put under more pressure as he did not look comfortable. He did make one decent stop from Salah, and was rescued by Rakitic when the ball did get past him. Rating: 5.

 

Roberto - struggled all game defensively and Valverde ended up bringing on Semedo to help out and protect him. Rating: 4.

 

Pique - did some good stuff at times, but he is afraid to get out wide and so did nothing to help Roberto. Rating: 5.

 

Lenglet - he did allow himself to get dragged out wide and was skinned each time he did by Salah. His recovery pace is non-existent, which means Barca have to defend deep with him and Pique, they are very slow. Rating: 4.

 

Alba - a constant threat down their left, his delivery was excellent when he got the chance. He was the key to their performance as the only player to drag players away from Messi. Rating: 7.

 

Vidal - put himself about well, though always on the edge of legality with his challenges, which are wild at best. Did not offer much on the ball though, surprisingly. Rating: 6.

 

Rakitic - made a goal-line clearance that saved their clean sheet. Worked hard and helped out the defence well, but was not able to get the ball in areas that suited his game. Rating: 7.

 

Busquets - spent most of the game dropping deep to play as a third centre back, which fails to make the most of his abilities. He did get to use his ability to draw in opponents to making a challenge and then throwing himself to the floor to win free kicks, just not as much as usual. Rating: 6.5.

 

Coutinho - had a poor game and was by far and away the worst player in Barcelona colours. Barely even looked like a footballer on the night. Rating: 2.

 

Messi - the big difference between the two teams, he may of only shown flashes of what he could do but he drew so much attention that it created space everywhere else, as well as finishing off two. The whole defence lost the plot just watching him and completely neglecting the rest of the Barca team. Rating: 8.

 

Suarez - nothing like the Suarez of old, his legs are going so he does pretty much nothing off the ball for long periods. He certainly does not press the way he once did. Instead he loiters in an offside position to distract the opposing defence. He has strengthened up massively to allow him to ride challenges when he does get the ball. Rating: 6.

 

Subs:

Semedo - replaced Coutinho after 60 minutes. Gave them an attacking threat down the right and stiffened up the defence on that side too. Rating: 6.

Alena - came on for Roberto in the 90+3 minute. Was purely a time-wasting substitution. Rating: 5.

Dembele - brought on in the 90+3 minute to replace Suarez. Also just to waste time. Rating: 5.

 


Klopp - his team gave as good as they got but were just not able to put the ball away, so it is difficult to complain about his team selection odd as it seemed. Maybe Alexander-Arnold would have created more, but he might have left more gaps. Wijnaldum did struggle but Mane and Salah are at their best in the wide areas so maybe they would not have had the chances if it was a different set up.

If Sturridge or Origi had proven themselves to be good options for a full 90 minutes, things might have been different. However, I do think he left it too long to make a second sub when he should have been more decisive in my opinion. Rating: 5.

 

Alisson - nothing he could do with the other two but he had his wall too far over on the free kick, giving Messi a chance to bend it in. That was an elementary mistake and I would expect better of him. Rating: 4.

 

Gomez - as good as he is in the centre of defence, he is not a right back and struggled a bit to provide the attacking threat needed down his flank. Constantly drifts into the centre when defending, which leaves space on the outside. Rating: 4.

 

Matip - allows himself to be dragged too far forward at times. He was caught slightly out of position on the first goal, as he failed to drop off to cover. Overall his performance was not so bad though, he got his foot in a few times when needed. Rating: 5.

 

van Dijk - had an awful game, it might be because he was so distracted by Messi or something else, but he failed to track runners at all. Spent far too much of the game just watching the game go on around him. Rating: 1.5.

 

Robertson - caused havoc on the left, which is why Semedo had to come on to help out. Shame his delivery was not at his best. Rating: 7.

 

Wijnaldum - really struggled to get involved in an unfamiliar role. Was far too willing to dummy it and leave it for others to take the responsibility. That is his biggest weakness and his biggest strength. He is a team player who puts the team ahead of himself when sometimes he needs that selfish streak to just take a shot or take command of the ball. He ended up just being mostly anonymous. Rating: 4.5.

 

Milner - bit too loose with his passing at times, though he also showed some good stuff at other times, those turnovers were often in dangerous positions. His energy and enthusiasm played a big part in Liverpool being able to take control of the ball for a lengthy spell in the second half, but he did fade as the half went on. Should have scored as well. Rating: 5.

 

Keita - was looking dangerous until injured. His loss was huge, in my opinion, as he is the one midfielder capable of running at the opposition with the ball at his feet and creating chances. Rating: 5.5.

 

Mane - fluffed his big chance, but was otherwise was causing absolute mayhem. He just needed someone to finish off the moves. He and Robertson were working together really well. Rating: 7.

 

Salah - another one who missed his chance to make the result a little less one-sided but he also caused them a lot of problems. It was just not happening for him. Rating: 6.5.

 

Fabinho - like any player would, he struggled to cope with Messi, no shame in that though. Rating: 4.

 

Subs:

Henderson - replaced Keita after 24 minutes. Did not do enough after coming on. He seemed a little off the pace and failed to get across to block a cross for one of the goals. Rating: 4.

Firmino - was brought on for Wijnaldum in the 79th minute. Too late to make a difference really. Rating: 5.

Origi - brought on in the 85th minute for Milner. Struggled badly to get at the Barca defence after coming on in the too short time he had. Rating: 4.5.

 

Just to explain my ratings. I have gone for what I believe is more simple than the usual of totting up points. I have decided to go with 5 as having no effect on the game other than being a body on the pitch. Anything below 5 is a player who had a negative effect on his team and anything above 5 as a positive effect. So a goal scored would be a positive effect and add to the rating, whereas giving away a penalty with a needless challenge would take away from it.

Written by Tris Burke May 02 2019 21:18:25

 

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