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How Liverpool should prepare for Barcelona

Liverpool need another classic European night at Anfield to progress past Barcelona on Tuesday and advance to this season’s Champions League final.

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Following a wasteful performance at the Nou Camp, the Reds need to bounce back and overturn a three-goal deficit. They also need to maintain a clean sheet while doing so.

The Reds will have regained their confidence back after a statement win against Newcastle in the Premier League.

But with Naby Keita out for the remainder of the season, here is how Klopp should line-up at Anfield to try and turn the tie in his sides’ favour.

How Liverpool should lineup

Alisson is a no brainer in the back five given his performances throughout the season. Joe Gomez made his first start since December in the first leg and was consistently targeted by the Blaugrana.

Trent Alexander-Arnold should return to the starting eleven alongside Matip, Van Dijk and Robertson who will return after the disappointment in Catalonia. The youngster is vital to so much of what the Reds do going forward and has contributed with 11 assists in the Premier League.

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The front three is easy, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané will feature on either side of Roberto Firmino – who will hopefully be fully fit by next Tuesday.

The midfield trio is the most difficult to decide. Fabinho is one of the Reds best pressers this season (29.9 p/90) according to AI Under Pressure. Unfortunately for Jürgen Klopp, the only better presser in his squad this season is a certain Guinean midfielder – Naby Keita.

The more advanced midfielders are a difficult choice. Based on form, Jordan Henderson more than deserves a starting berth in the second leg.

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There is a need to start Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has been the best presser during Klopp’s reign at Anfield with 35.1 presses p/90.

If it’s still too early for Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gini Wijnaldum should start. He’s the epitome of the anti-press and although he isn’t as effective going forward as earlier in his career, he’s been vital to the Reds all season. He has also arguably been their best midfielder since August.

Reds need to dominate offensively

Liverpool are already behind three goals before the ball is even kicked on Tuesday. This means even if they would normally try to control the game under normal circumstances, they must almost throw caution to the wind.

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The Reds have to challenge Marc-Andre ter Stegen more than the first leg encounter. Jurgen’s men only managed to hit the target on a third of their shot attempts, scoring none.

While they also maintained the lion’s share of possession, they only created an extra chance to score.

They weren’t without their chances but if they hope to keep their CL ambitions alive they will need to be more clinical.

The Anfield Faithful

Everyone knows just how potent the Reds can be at Anfield. With the crowd behind them plenty of sides have capitulated.

Last season they put seven goals past Pep Guardiola’s record-breaking Manchester City side in two matches. They also put five past Roma and three past PSG earlier in the campaign.

An early goal will no-doubt create nerves in the Barcelona camp, hopefully the Reds can thrive off that and produce yet another magical European night under the lights at Anfield.

This is another game where the crowd will be just as important as the players on the pitch.

The fans will be a huge asset for Liverpool against Barcelona in their Champions League bout. They need to make it a memorable one!

The songs and chants have long been an intimidating factor for opposing teams. They have also been a huge morale boost for the home side late in games.

“Though your dreams be tossed and blown, walk on!” Those famous lyrics have never hit home as hard as they do now. It’s built deep within the foundations of the club.

Whatever happens on Tuesday, both fans and players must remove doubt from their minds and believe.

Liam Grimshaw
21, journalism graduate, avid LFC fan and aspiring writer.

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