Lionel Messi scored twice to put Barcelona in control of their Champions League semi-final against Liverpool, winning 3-0 in the first leg at the Nou Camp.
It was former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez who put the hosts ahead in the 26th minute, flicking a lovely Jordi Alba cross home home over Alisson and the 32-year-old did not hide his celebrations.
Barcelona rode the wave of Liverpool pressure at the start of the second half and Messi (75) was in the right place at the right time as he slotted home after Suarez had hit the bar.
But his real moment of magic came seven minutes later as he swept a sensational free-kick around the Liverpool wall and into the top corner, scoring his 600th goal for the club and putting Barcelona in pole position to reach their first Champions League final since 2015.
Liverpool’s team selection was perplexing, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino on the bench while James Milner, Georgino Wijnaldum, Naby Keita and Fabinho all started. When the game began, Wijnaldum took up the false nine role left vacant by Firmino with a flat midfield three as Jurgen Klopp maintained an eye on Saturday’s crunch Premier League game against Newcastle.
It was an entertaining first half, with Philippe Coutinho attempting to strike an early blow to his former side, but his 16th minute strike – which was offside – went whistling past Alisson’s far post.
For all the pre-match questions on Liverpool’s formation, it was thrown slightly into disarray as Keita picked up a groin issue following a clash with Ivan Rakitic. He was replaced after 24 minutes by Jordan Henderson, and two minutes later, a familiar face came back to haunt Liverpool.
Naby Keita was substituted midway through the first half
A sensational cross from Jordi Alba on the left picked out the run of Suarez through the middle of the two centre-backs. He then flicked the ball over the top of Alisson with a delightful finish before celebrating his first Champions League goal of the season with a knee slide in front of the Nou Camp crowd.
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