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# Barcelona vs. Liverpool – UEFA Champions League Semi-Final, First Leg – May 1, 2019

On May 1, 2019, Barcelona faced Liverpool in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final at the Camp Nou. Barcelona secured a 3-0 victory, giving them a significant advantage heading into the second leg, thanks to a masterful performance from Lionel Messi.

### Key Statistics and Analysis

1. Scoreline and Goal Timings:
• Barcelona: 3 (Luis Suárez 26′, Lionel Messi 75′, 82′)
• Liverpool: 0
2. Possession:
• Barcelona had 52% possession, while Liverpool had 48%. The possession was relatively balanced, with both teams having periods of control. However, Barcelona’s clinical finishing made the difference.
3. Shots:
• Barcelona registered 12 shots, with 5 on target, showcasing their efficiency in front of goal. Liverpool had 15 shots, with 5 on target, but they were unable to find the back of the net, largely due to excellent goalkeeping by Marc-André ter Stegen and a lack of clinical finishing.
4. Passing Accuracy:
• Barcelona had a passing accuracy of 84%, completing 484 passes out of 576 attempts. Liverpool’s passing accuracy was slightly lower at 78%, completing 417 passes out of 532 attempts. Barcelona’s superior precision in key moments contributed to their ability to capitalize on their opportunities.
5. Defensive Statistics:
• Barcelona made 15 tackles compared to Liverpool’s 19, reflecting Liverpool’s aggressive approach to winning back possession. Barcelona’s defense, led by Gerard Piqué and Clement Lenglet, was solid throughout, managing to keep Liverpool’s attacking trio at bay.
6. Set Pieces:
• Barcelona’s goals came from a mix of open play and set pieces. Luis Suárez opened the scoring by converting a Jordi Alba cross from close range. The second goal was scored by Lionel Messi after Suárez’s shot rebounded off the crossbar. Messi then added a spectacular third goal with a stunning free-kick from 30 yards out, which curled into the top corner, leaving Liverpool’s goalkeeper Alisson with no chance.
7. Individual Performances:
• Lionel Messi was the standout player for Barcelona, scoring two goals, including a remarkable free-kick that sealed the victory. Luis Suárez was also instrumental, scoring the opening goal and being involved in the build-up to the second. For Liverpool, James Milner and Sadio Mané were among the most active, but they were unable to convert their efforts into goals.
8. Tactical Overview:
• Barcelona employed a 4-3-3 formation under Ernesto Valverde, focusing on controlling the midfield and using the creative talents of Messi and Suárez to break down Liverpool’s defense. Liverpool, under Jürgen Klopp, also used a 4-3-3 formation, emphasizing high pressing and quick transitions. Despite Liverpool’s intense pressing, Barcelona’s experience and composure in key moments allowed them to take control of the game.
9. Disciplinary:
• The match saw two yellow cards, one for each team. Liverpool’s James Milner was booked for a foul on Lionel Messi, while Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets received a yellow card for a late challenge on Fabinho. The fouls were tactical, aimed at breaking up play and preventing the opposition from gaining momentum.
10. Corners and Offsides:
• Liverpool won 8 corners compared to Barcelona’s 4, reflecting their sustained pressure, particularly in the second half. Barcelona were caught offside 3 times, while Liverpool had 1 offside call, indicating Barcelona’s attempts to stretch Liverpool’s defense and Liverpool’s disciplined defensive line.

### Summary

Barcelona’s 3-0 victory over Liverpool at the Camp Nou in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final was a commanding performance that put them in a strong position to reach the final. Despite a balanced game in terms of possession and chances, Barcelona’s clinical finishing, particularly from Lionel Messi, made the difference.

Luis Suárez opened the scoring with a well-timed run and finish, giving Barcelona the lead. Lionel Messi then took center stage, scoring twice in the second half, including a stunning free-kick that was one of the goals of the season. Liverpool, despite creating several good chances, were unable to score, with Marc-André ter Stegen making crucial saves.

The result left Liverpool with a daunting task in the second leg, needing to overcome a three-goal deficit against a Barcelona team that had been nearly unbeatable at home. Barcelona’s defensive discipline and Messi’s brilliance were key to their victory, setting the stage for what many believed would be a comfortable passage to the final.

However, the result also set the stage for one of the most remarkable comebacks in football history, as Liverpool would later overturn the deficit in the second leg at Anfield. But on this night, Barcelona’s 3-0 win was celebrated as a near-perfect performance in a high-stakes match.