Liverpool were handed a 3-0 drubbing by Barcelona at the Camp Nou in the first-leg of their Champions League semifinals on Wednesday night.
The Reds were a goal behind at half-time thanks to Luis Suarez, and despite threatening to score for larger parts of the second half, a Lionel Messi brace did massive damage to their chances of reaching the finals.
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde made a crucial tactical switch that helped the Catalans see off Liverpool, and he also showered praises on the Argentine star for hurting the Premier League side.
“Barcelona suffered at the beginning of the second half until they scored the second goal. Then Liverpool collapsed,” the French legend said on beIN SPORTS.
“Two things happened in the game. When they (Barcelona) suffered, they made a good change. He (Valverde) brought (Nelson) Semedo on and put Roberto in midfield.
“Barcelona looked more stable defensively. The second part is what we have seen so many times in our lives. Mr Messi came in and said: ‘Let me finish the job now.’
“It was harsh for Liverpool tonight.”
“Mr Messi came in and said: ‘Let me finish the job now.'”
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS) May 1, 2019
Roberto was preferred to Semedo in the starting lineup, but the Portuguese right-back was brought on to replace Philippe Coutinho in the 60th minute, helping to strengthen the hosts’ general defensive makeup, and the decision surely yielded dividends.
Liverpool’s failure to score a goal at Camp Nou could prove catastrophic in the end, as they will need to prevent Barcelona from scoring at Anfield to have a realistic chance of advancing to the final.