Behind Enemy Lines: Messi's Champions League mission and how Barcelona plan to stop their pressing problem
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It goes to show the season that Liverpool are enjoying that the Champions League has almost been an afterthought at times during this incredible campaign. But while the thrilling race for the Premier League is very much alive, the focus tonight will solely be on European football’s top club competition and a semi-final first-leg showdown with Barcelona. The bad news is Lionel Messi appears hell-bent on bringing the Champions League back to Barca and if he is at his magical best, there may be little Liverpool can do. The fact that Ernesto Valverde has been able to rest key players, like Messi, and still wrap up an eighth La Liga title in 11 years, doesn’t help the Reds either. Neither does the force of nature that is Luis Suarez or the improved form of another Liverpool old boy, Philippe Coutinho. But as the guest of this podcast explains, for all their undoubted strengths, Barcelona are not without their weaknesses. And Sam Marsden, who covers the La Liga champions for ESPN, believes the Reds could be the team to exploit them. Valverde is aware of that, too, and Sam reveals the Barca boss has actually been taking tips from one of his predecessors in how to halt Jurgen Klopp’s Red Machine – a certain Pep Guardiola. There’s loads more to get stuck into before Sam heads off to report on the press conferences that took place at Barcelona’s training ground on Tuesday night. It’s a bit noisy at the start, but it soon settles down, which is exactly what Liverpool will be hoping to do at Camp Nou on Wednesday.
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