Liverpool produced a memorable comeback in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final to overturn a 3-0 deficit against Barcelona and progress to the tournament final in Madrid.
The Reds did the job without the services of Mohamed Salah (£13.3m) and Roberto Firmino (£9.3m), while Andrew Robertson (£6.8m) was substituted at half-time of Tuesday’s thriller with a calf problem.
The Scot is set for a scan on Wednesday to determine the extent of the injury and the player himself said after full-time:
It doesn’t feel the best at the minute but I’ll get a scan tomorrow. They’re confident that it’s just a nerve or whatever and it can be maybe a couple of days, but we’ll wait and see. We can’t really comment until I get the scan, but I’ll be saying my prayers tonight.
Jurgen Klopp’s pre-Gameweek 38 press conference later in the week is eagerly awaited, with half a dozen of his players currently flagged in Fantasy Premier League.
The Liverpool boss revealed last night that Robertson wasn’t the only player to cause him concern against Barcelona:
Obviously, tonight was really intense and we started without Bobby, Mo and Naby. Ox was not available but only we rested him – he’ll hopefully be an option for the weekend.
Hendo got an unbelievable kick against his knee, he didn’t feel his patella, and Robbo got the heel of Suarez against his calf. You saw both limping; then Virg goes down, then Sadio goes down, and you think, ‘OK, it would help if we could finish the game with 11!’
So we will see, we’ll again try to collect the bones and go again against Wolves.
We analyse the game itself in our Scout Notes article below.
Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona
- Goals: Divock Origi (£5.0m) x2, Georginio Wijnaldum (£5.5m) x2
- Assists: Jordan Henderson (£5.3m), Trent Alexander-Arnold (£5.7m) x2, Xherdan Shaqiri (£6.8m)
Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s (£5.7m) superb run of form continued at Anfield on Tuesday evening.
The Liverpool right-back has registered three consecutive double-digit hauls in FPL and he would have had another had the Reds’ 4-0 victory over Barcelona been a Premier League match, banking a clean sheet and two assists in the comeback win.
Already owned by over 24% of FPL managers at the time of writing and the most-bought defender of Gameweek 38, Alexander-Arnold’s popularity will surely only increase further should Robertson be ruled out of Sunday’s game against Wolves (a large chunk of the Scottish full-back’s 2.3 million owners perhaps needing to look elsewhere).
The frequency of Liverpool goals from open-play crosses or dead-ball deliveries has increased in recent weeks, with Alexander-Arnold and Robertson sharing three assists in the 5-0 win over Huddersfield and all three of the Reds’ strikes against Newcastle coming from crosses.
Three of Liverpool’s goals against Barcelona were similarly sourced, with substitute Georginio Wijnaldum (£5.5m) converting whipped deliveries from Alexander-Arnold and Xherdan Shaqiri (£6.8m) before the Reds’ right-back brilliantly set up Divock Origi (£5.0m) with a quickly taken corner-kick for Liverpool’s fourth.
Klopp said of his young full-back’s ingenuity:
We all know you need luck in this situation [3-0 down] or a genius moment like Trent Alexander-Arnold. I saw the ball flying into the net and I had no idea who took the corner and who scored because it was too quick for me. Now I saw it back and it’s just incredibly smart, two players connected – in this moment it was enough. My God, genius.
Alexander-Arnold set up Virgil van Dijk (£6.7m) for Liverpool’s first goal last Saturday and he almost repeated the trick again last night, with the Dutch centre-back drawing a save from Marc-Andre ter Stegen with a flick from six yards out on 50 minutes.
No defender has delivered more successful crosses or supplied more big chances than Alexander-Arnold in the Premier League since his return from injury in Gameweek 28.
With Salah and Firmino sidelined, Origi and Shaqiri were chosen to join Sadio Mane (£10.2m) in Liverpool’s makeshift three-man attack.
The Swiss winger played his part with an assist for Liverpool’s third goal but looked out of sorts before the interval, understandably so given how peripheral he has been this calendar year.
Origi’s brace (and a winner against Newcastle) should stand him in good stead for a start in Gameweek 38 should Firmino be ruled out, with Daniel Sturridge (£5.6m) not really having convinced at St. James’ Park last Saturday.
Origi is flagged in FPL after limping off on Tuesday but it is thought the Belgian striker was only suffering from cramp.
Speaking after the match, Origi said:
We did so well, we fought and we knew it was going to be a special night. We wanted to also fight for the injured players.
We fought so hard. Robbo’s a fighter and we knew it could have an impact on the players. Even me at the end, I had some cramps.
As was the case on Saturday, Mane emerged from this match without an attacking return to his name.
The Senegal international was magnificent against Barcelona, however, and it was his anticipation in intercepting a Jordi Alba header that led to Liverpool’s first goal.
A constant menace to the Barcelona backline down the left flank, Mane had a first-half penalty shout turned away and set up two early chances – although didn’t manage a single shot on goal himself.
As the FPL midfielder who has recorded the most headed attempts on goal this season, there is every chance that it could be the former Southampton winger getting on the end of an Alexander-Arnold cross on Sunday afternoon.
Jordan Henderson (£5.3m) reprised his role as a more advanced “number eight” on the right of Liverpool’s midfield three and it was the former Sunderland man who claimed the Fantasy assist for the Reds’ opener when his saved shot (from inside the box, underlining his freedom to get forward) was followed up by Origi.
Since his conversion into this more forward-thinking midfielder at the beginning of April, Henderson has one goal and five assists in all competitions.
Liverpool’s backline kept another home clean sheet but Barcelona had their chances, as Klopp acknowledged after the match:
We thought our performance was better than 3-0 at Barca, and tonight probably Barca’s performance was better than the 4-0 here – but it’s a competition where you have to score the goals. They didn’t, we did tonight, we scored one more.
Alisson (£5.9m) was called into making smart (if not spectacular) saves from Lionel Messi, Alba, Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho, and Klopp paid tribute to his Brazilian goalkeeper after the match:
And the goalkeeper at the back who makes all these saves! There may be more spectacular goalkeepers out there but he is unbelievable. You think, “how is he there?”
What a performance. They had all these chances, he was always with the body behind the ball. I don’t know how he does it.
Joel Matip (£4.9m) was recalled at centre-half after missing out in Gameweeks 36 and 37, with James Milner (£5.6m) filling in at left-back when Robertson couldn’t continue.
Liverpool XI (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson (Wijnaldum 46′); Fabinho, Milner, Henderson; Mane, Shaqiri (Sturridge 90), Origi (Gomez 85′).