Liverpool Dominated The Second Half — Until Lionel Messi Showed Us Why He’s The Greatest

Liverpool was dominating in the second half. Fullbacks were flying forward, midfielders were ripping shots and forwards were bamboozling defenders.

But only Barcelona had Lionel Messi.

More than ever before, Messi is carrying Barcelona this season. Unlike past Champions League-winning sides Messi has been a part of, he is both the primary goal scorer and primary goal creator. 

Luis Suarez gave Barcelona a first-half lead by scoring against his former club, but Liverpool grew into the match, particularly after Messi was reduced to embellishment after a harsh challenge from James Milner

For much of the second half, it looked as though the visitors at Camp Nou would find a vital away goal, perhaps earn a draw or even steal a win.

But then Lionel Messi reminded us why he’s the GOAT.

Messi scored in the 75th and 82nd minutes to give Barcelona a massive 3-0 advantage heading into the second leg of the Champions League semifinals. The first was a result of a bit of fortune, the second pure majesty from the maestro.

With Liverpool pinning Barcelona back deeper and deeper as the second half wore on, Messi gave the Blaugrana defense a bit of a reprieve when he picked the ball up about 30 yards from goal with 15 minutes to go. With no one immediately around him, he was able to turn and run at the Liverpool defense. When the Reds finally collapsed on him, he played a pass for Sergi Roberto, which was sent on to Suarez, who kneed the ball off the post. 

The ball fell kindly to Messi, who didn’t have to do much to score his 599th career goal for Barcelona.

The finish was simple, but Messi drawing the attention of the entire Liverpool defense (and then completely disappearing only to reappear when the ball bounced to him) was what made the goal happen. Messi ran at defenders all throughout the match, really the only consistent threat for Barcelona. 

His second of the match — and 600th all time for Barcelona — was an absolute beauty.

Barcelona was awarded a free kick about 29 yards from goal and, well, just watch.

Lionel Messi has been unbelievable this season, especially on free kicks, and his performance in the final 15 minutes against Liverpool on Wednesday was perhaps his best showing of the year. Social media went nuts.

Announcer Martin Tyler summed it up nicely after the second goal: “The fans are worshipping him, and you can understand why. He is a god of the game — the god of the game.”

Despite the double blow from Messi, Liverpool nearly responded immediately after going down 3-0 but for a remarkable goal-line clearance from Ivan Rakitic and Mo Salah hitting the post. 

Then Messi probably should’ve added an assist to his stat sheet but for Ousmane Dembélé scuffing a shot right at Alisson. 

But a 3-0 advantage heading to the fortress that is Anfield is massive for Barça, not just for the goal differential but knowing that a single away goal means Liverpool would have to score at least five goals to advance. 

And yet it was so close to finishing 1-0 or worse for Barcelona. 

But then again, Lionel Messi. 

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