Liverpool will hope for a miracle when they host Barcelona in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final on Tuesday.
The visitors have a 3-0 advantage, and are the favourites to qualify for the final. But, at Anfield, you never know.
Here are three Liverpool who have the potential to swing the tie back into Liverpool’s favour this midweek.
Virgil van Dijk
The almost telepathic combination between Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez was one of the main reasons behind Barcelona’s success in the first leg. And the duo will look to seal the tie by scoring the all-important away goal on Tuesday.
That’s where Virgil van Dijk will come into the fray. The star defender struggled, at times, in keeping up with the likes of Messi and Suarez in the first leg. The onus will be on the Dutchman to keep them at bay this time out as Liverpool look avoid conceding any away goals.
His physical and aerial prowess will always be an advantage against Suarez. But, it will be interesting to see how he keeps up with Messi’s mazy runs in and across the final third. Additionally, the former Southampton defender will remain a danger for Barcelona in set-pieces.
Thus, it’s probably fair to say that van Dijk’s performance could shape Liverpool’s fate in this fixture considering he is more likely to face Messi and Suarez directly as Liverpool will press for goals.
Fabinho was completely outplayed by the intricate movements and passing from Barcelona’s midfield trifecta of Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal. And the Brazilian will be keen to avoid a similar situation on Tuesday
He is likely to operate in the holding midfield role, where he will be partnered by Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum. The latter is likely to revert to his preferred central midfield role, which could benefit Fabinho as the Dutchman often becomes useful in pressing.
One thing is for certain, if Liverpool are to dominate proceedings then Fabinho will have to produce a masterclass in midfield.
With both Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino ruled out, Sadio Mane will remain Liverpool’s only hope if they are to turn the tables.
The Senegalese international was underwhelming in the first-leg. But, with Liverpool having nothing to lose this time out, Mane can play his natural game and try to exploit the right-flank, where he will likely be up against Sergi Roberto.
Roberto is known for his excellent positioning sense, meaning Mane will certainly have to perform well if he is to cause any problems for the opposition this week – making him one of the players to look forward to in this enticing encounter in the Champions League.