Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

21.59 1 May 2019


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Messi. What more is there to be said?

The Argentine scored his 600th Barcelona goal to break Liverpool's resolve in a 3-0 win over the Reds at the Camp Nou.

Messi scored a sublime free-kick into the very top corner to beat Alisson, and seal a personal landmark that copper-fastens his place at the very top of the sport.

The scoreline was certainly unfair to Liverpool in a sense, whose possession and control of portions of the match outstripped every other club that have visited the Blaugrana this season.

However, they succumbed to an early goal from former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, who scooped over Alisson after a brilliant through-ball from Jordi Alba.

Having dominated large swathes of the second half, Ernesto Valverde introduced Nelson Semedo in place of Philippe Coutinho, who provided more pace and precision down Barcelona's right.

It was this that was arguably the turning point, as Barcelona had an out-ball that they had been missing in a congested game where Liverpool's press was tight and constant.

Predictably, it was Messi that was the architect and ribbon-cutter of Barca's second, after Sergio Busquets fed Suarez - hitting the bar before Messi walked it into a gaping net.

Before his beautiful, game-changing apparition, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen had a good shout to be man-of-the-match, making several crucial saves in both halves to deny James Milner twice, and Mo Salah low to his right.

Salah had an intriguing to-and-fro battle with the excellent Jordi Alba. Their tête-à-tête in many ways was a microcosm of the match, where each were spirited, but the left-back had the ultimate say.

Liverpool had started with Roberto Firmino on the bench, preferring to start with Sadio Mane at the tip of their attacking trio.

One doubts that he will stay on the bench for the second leg, which looks little more than a formality.

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