It’s fight or flight time for Liverpool when they host Barcelona today in the second leg of the Champions League semi-finals down 3-0 in the aggregate. The English side has a money line of +105, making them favorites over the Spanish giants, who are at +210 with a draw set at +269.
Barcelona is actually coming off a 2-0 loss to Celta Vigo over the weekend. However, the Catalan club has already wrapped the La Liga championship, so it was a heavily rotated squad with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and several others getting a rest. Prior to that, Barcelona had won five games in a row across all competitions, so their form isn’t an issue.
Meanwhile, Liverpool found themselves in a physical battle against Newcastle over the weekend. The Reds survived, winning 3-2 to keep their Premier League title hopes alive. However, they will have to refocus on Barcelona quickly while also keeping an eye toward Sunday’s Premier League finale against a tough Wolverhampton team.
Bloody and Beat Up
Sadly, Liverpool will be far from full strength for Tuesday’s clash with Barcelona. Roberto Firmino will miss the game due to a muscle injury that forced him to only be used as a sub during the first leg. Naby Keita is also unavailable after suffering a groin injury in the first leg against Barcelona. Most distressing is the status of Mohammed Salah, who left Saturday’s clash with Newcastle because of a head injury and is questionable at best to play Tuesday.
Assuming Salah misses the match, Liverpool will be down to only Sadio Mane from their three primary attacking players. That could open the door for Swiss international Xherdan Shaqiri to start after barely being used over the past few months. It could also force Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge into action, which doesn’t necessarily favor Liverpool knowing they need at least three goals in 90 minutes to stay alive.
Time for Defense?
With the likes of Messi and Suarez, Barcelona is feared by opposing defenses, but the Spanish champions are likely to be on the defensive in this game. Despite Liverpool missing a few key players, the English side will be pressing high and try to go on the attack in hopes that an early goal or two can get the Anfield crowd behind them and give them a fighting chance in the second half. That could force Barcelona to make defense more of a priority than usual.
That being said, Liverpool actually had a slight advantage in the possession battle in the first leg, and the La Liga champs were able to keep them off the scoreboard. The duo of Messi and Suarez can also be deadly on the counterattack. Even with one of the best defensive sides in England, Liverpool conceded three goals in the first leg, and they could be even more vulnerable on the counter in the second leg.
Even without Salah and Firmino, Liverpool is too dangerous on the attack not to find the back of the net in this game. However, Barcelona is smart enough to keep things organized at the back and now risk giving up three or more goals. Bet on Liverpool getting a 1-0 or 2-1 win but not doing enough to keep Barcelona from reaching the finals. We are really excited to bet on this match, and many others. If you are looking for a great spot to get this bet, and all the matches you want, make sure you check out one of the top pay per head bookie locations you will find. Head to Pay Per Head 247 and place a bet on this affair!