Leo Messi and ten warriors to face Liverpool at Anfield

Valverde, who was cautious in the first leg, is expected to name a side which will be able to control the midfield

El Barcelona se juega el pase a la final en Anfield
El Barcelona se juega el pase a la final en Anfield | MARC CREUS

There are just 90 minutes to go. At Anfield, those 90 minutes could feel like 180. Real Madrid know all about that when they were beaten there a few years ago. It isn't just Roma that should be on Ernesto Valverde's mind as the coach must get his starting lineup correct. He showed that caution in the first leg which ended up with Barça winning 3-0.

Ivan San Antonio


Most of the team picks itself. In fact there are only two choices Valverde really needs to make: right back and one spot in central midfield. Ter Stegen, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba, Busquets, Rakitic, Vidal, Messi and Luis Suárez are all certain to start bar any last minute surprises. But Valverde has reduced the surprises in his teams recently so that only leaves two places up for grabs.


Will Semedo or Roberto start - or both? When both players were on the pitch it helped reduce Liverpool's attacking power. In the first leg it was Coutinho who made way for Semedo with the Portuguese slotting in at full back and Roberto moving into midfield. It looks likely that the former Red will start on the bench again but due to his history with Liverpool - and his record in England - he might be given another chance to prove his worth.


If Sergi Roberto moves into midfield then the team picks itself. However if Roberto stays at right back then another option for the midfield is Arthur. The Brazilian would be tasked with keeping possession but perhaps offers less in attack. The midfielder hasn't been untouchable for Valverde in recent weeks as proven in the first leg.

Whatever decisions Valverde makes elsewhere, the team will be led by Lionel Messi once again. He was key in the first leg victory and will look to kill off the atmosphere at Anfield as quickly as possible. The longer the English side remain in the contest, the more it will take out of the little Argentine. That's why the starting XI at Anfield will be Messi and ten warriors. It's going to be a battle.



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