Barcelona: Lionel Messi was the hero once again for FC Barcelona as he scored two goals to give his side a 3-0 win at home to Liverpool in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal.
Barca, on Wednesday, led through Luis Suarez’s first half goal, but were struggling in the second half against an excellent Liverpool side. That was until Messi scored the second goal of the game in the 75th minute, popping up at the right place to put the ball into the net off a rebound from Suarez.
He then added a third with a spectacular free kick in the 82nd minute to give Barca a comfortable three-goal cushion to take to Liverpool’s Anfield Stadium next week.
“We know Anfield will be difficult,” said Messi on Spanish TV after the final whistle, according to Xinhua news agency. “We’re happy with the game we have played today,” he added,
The Argentinean admitted that Barca had been made to work hard against Liverpool, who pressured them high up the field and missed chances to score at least one away goal.
“We played their game,” said Messi, saying that Liverpool played “with a lot of pace and rhythm, while we are used to having the ball and making our rivals run”.
He valued the fact that Barca had not conceded a goal saying keeping a clean sheet is important. “We were the better team in the first half, but in the second half they pressured us and we couldn’t get out of our half, but we got the goals and it is a good advantage,” said the forward.
The Barca captain also had a message for fans who had booed Philippe Coutinho when he was replaced by Nelson Semedo in the second half.
“We are at a moment of the season where we have to be more united than ever: players and fans. We have to take this forward together. There isn’t long to go and we have to be united,” said Messi.