Tactical Insights

Lionel Messi mentioned Liverpool when addressing huge Barcelona problem

Liverpool was once blamed as the reason for FC Barcelona’s downfall, by Lionel Messi himself.

On May 7, 2019, Liverpool produced one of the greatest comebacks in Champions League history as they recovered from a 3-0 defeat in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final against Barcelona by winning 4-0 in the second leg. It remains an iconic moment in competition history and Liverpool went on to win the Champions League that season, beating Tottenham 2-0 in the final.

Messi and former Liverpool stars Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho, who both left the Reds to join Barcelona, were stunned on their return to Anfield. Although Barcelona won La Liga that season, Messi claimed that the manner of the defeat impacted the team moving forward.

The following season Barcelona failed to win a trophy for the first time since 2007-08, and its decline as a European heavyweight started. Messi spoke out in anger when Barcelona surrendered its La Liga title to Real Madrid, and concluded that the defeat to Liverpool derailed them.

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“I said a while ago that if we carry on like this it will be very hard for us to win the Champions League,” said Messi back in 2020. “We couldn’t even win La Liga. If we don’t react, we won’t beat Napoli.

“I’m sure the fans are running out of patience because, playing like we have done, and after the Roma and Liverpool [where they lost big leads], we’re not giving them anything. We were not expecting this. We didn’t want to end La Liga playing like this, but it kind of reflects how this whole year has gone.

“We were weak and lost our shape. They beat us because we lacked intensity and conceded an easy goal. We have lost lots of points this season when we shouldn’t have… We have to be critical of ourselves, starting with the players, but across the whole club.”

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