Liverpool come into the tie unbeaten in 13 consecutive Champions League matches at Anfield while Barcelona have lost just once in their last ten Champions League away games. Whose streak will end?
Liverpool Injury News
Mohamed Salah suffered a head injury and had to be stretchered off the pitch at St. James’ Park in Liverpool’s 3-2 win at Newcastle United last night. The good news is that he’s fine. The bad news is that he has a concussion and will miss the match:
‘It is a concussion and that means he will not even be allowed to play,’ said Klopp. ‘He feels OK but that is not good enough from a medical point of view. He is desperate, but we cannot do it. The situation is with the 3-0 in Barcelona it is obviously not the situation we want to have.
‘You cannot play against Barcelona and tell the world “watch this” and after 10 minutes we are level. We try to win the game. If there is an opportunity to go to the next round, we have to try in. Until then we just have to try and win the game, that’s how we will do it.
‘It is a long season and there is at least a little chance to make it even longer. If not, these are the last two home games of an incredible season, and I think we should celebrate that with a good performance on the pitch and a very good performance in the stands. That would be really nice.’
That is a huge blow for Liverpool as fellow striker Roberto Firmino has also been ruled out with a muscle injury.
Also, Naby Keita is out for the season and long term absentee Adam Lallana wasn’t named to the match day squad on the weekend, so it’s very unlikely that we see him here.
Barcelona Injury News
For the visitors, winger Ousmane Dembélé is done for what is left of the rest of the season after he re-aggravated his nagging hamstring injury. The former BVB star man had to be taken off after just six minutes on the pitch versus Celta Vigo.
Speaking after the defeat to Celta, Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde said:
“It is a major setback for us ahead the next game at Anfield and for the rest of the season. It happened in the first play of the game and we noticed straight away.
“He was attacking with a long ball and when he tried to sprint to win the ball, we noticed that something was not right.
“When a player has some muscular tear his level on the pitch slowly start to decrease, but as it was so clear, we decided to take him off the pitch to avoid further damage.
“Apparently he has a muscle problem, but we must wait and do some tests.”
Surprisingly, long term injury absentee Rafinha has been included in the Barcelona squad:
BARCELONA SQUAD V LIVERPOOL
GOALKEEPERS: Marc Ter Stegen, Jasper Cillessen, Inaki Pena
DEFENDERS: Nelson Semedo, Sergi Roberto, Rafinha, Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet, Jeison Murillo, Jodi Alba, Samuel Umtiti, Thomas Vermaelen, Moussa Wague
MIDFIELDERS: Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic, Arthur Melo, Artuto Vidal, Carles Alena
FORWARDS: Philippe Coutinho, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Malcom, Kevin-Prince Boateng