The Pre-season match between Spanish giants FC Barcelona and Liverpool FC went underway on 6th August at Wembley Stadium in London. Barcelona were favourites to win this match but they were given a shock by Liverpool. Klopp’s men were 4-0 winners and they destroyed FC Barcelona. Despite being a friendly, the atmosphere was good as there were almost 90,000 people in the stadium.
Liverpool [4-3-3]- Mignolet, Clyne, Lovren, Klavan, Milner; Lallana, Can, Wijnaldum; Coutinho, Mane, Firmino.
Subs- Manninger, Henderson, Grujic, Moreno, Brannagan, Origi, Ings, Matip, Stewart, Markovic, Wisdom, Randall, Arnold.
Barcelona [4-3-3]- Ter Stegen; Camara, Mascherano, Mathieu, Vidal; Turan, Busquets, Denis; Munir, Messi, Suarez.
Subs- Digne, Alfaro, Douglas, Pique, Rakitic, Iniesta, Mujica, Sergi Samper, Vermaelen, Masip, Bravo.
James Miner was playing as a Left Back which proves his versatility. Lovren and Klavan were anchoring the defence, while Mane, Fermino and Coutinho were leading the attack. For Barcelona, most of the starters were on the bench, but Luis Enrique started with star players such as Messi and Suarez on the attack. The midfield was good too.
The match started with both sides on full offensive mode. In just the first minute of the match, Mane crossed the ball across the box but Wijnaldum sliced his shot wide off the post. Barcelona, as usual, was keeping the ball and dominating the possession but Liverpool were pressing high and looking to hit on the break. Liverpool were attacking from the wide areas taking the full advantage of inexperienced fullbacks of Barcelona. At the 15th minute, Fermino attacked from the right, from which Lallana gave a clever through ball towards and Mane smashed into the top corner which gave Liverpool an early lead. It was a very quite start from Messi and Suarez.
On the 21st minute, Suarez gave a nice through ball to Messi, but the crossbar denied the goal for Messi. Slowly, Barcelona started looking comfortable with the ball and chances were created. Messi stroked the ball towards bottom left side of the goal, but Mignolet made a stunning reaction save. Liverpool were also pressurising the defence and Coutinho, Mane and Firmino were combining really well and were making clever moves in the final third. Jeremy Mathieu was struggling and wasn’t able to cope up with Liverpool’s stunning pace.
Messi was becoming more influential and Suarez’s shot was stopped well by Mignolet. Milner was injured and was replaced with Moreno who was criticised for his performance in the Europa League final. At half time, Liverpool were leading 1-0.
Just two minutes after the half time, Mane dispossessed Mathieu and linked up beautifully with Origi and who then gave a low cross at the near post which was deflected from Mascehrano which resulted in an own goal. . As Barcelona were recovering from the second goal, just 1 minute later, Stewart who replaced Can at the half time played a pass through the middle of Barca’s defence to unleash Origi who scored a goal between Bravo’s legs. It was a horrible start for Goalkeeper Bravo after coming on at half time. Liverpool’s intensity rocked Barcelona.
Barcelona made some changes at the defence and slowed down the tempo of the game and Liverpool sat back. Barcelona dominated the possession but were unable to break Liverpool’s defence. Youngsters such as Mujica and Alfaro added some urgency but they were not able to keep Mignolet busy. At 90+ 3, Liverpool started the attack on the break; Lazar Markovic crossed the ball to promising midfielder Grujic who headed the ball into the goal.
Referee blew the final whistle and the Liverpool side emerged as outright winners. They surprised everyone by beating Barcelona 4-0. This will give a great sense of believe to Klopp’s men as now they begin the new EPL season against Arsenal on 14th August. Liverpool have made a serious statement after their emphatic win.
Top performers and Flops
The top performer was Sadio Mane, his pace and movements terrified Barcelona’s backline. Lallana and Firmino were also impressive. Mignolet’s performance was a surprise, he was really good.
Jeremy Mathieu flopped miserably; he was very slow and disappointing. Mascehrano and Busquets were not able to react against Liverpool’s pace. The inexperienced full backs, Camara, Vidal struggled too. Messi’s performance was below the par.