Lionel Messi masterclass puts Barcelona in control

Liverpool face a near-impossible task to qualify for the Champions League final after two Lionel Messi goals gave Barcelona a 3-0 win in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final.

Former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez put Barca ahead before Messi struck twice, his second a superb free-kick, to give Barca a convincing lead.

Liverpool had their chances to take at least an away goal into the second leg but Andre ter Stegen kept a clean sheet with a number of fine saves.

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Suarez opened the scoring in the 26th minute when a superb Jordi Alba pass found him in the six-yard box to poke the ball past Allison.

Sadio Mane then had a penalty appeal turned down after a challenge from Gerard Pique, before striking over the crossbar.

Mohamed Salah then tested Ter Stegen from long range but the Dutch keeper was, once again, equal to it.

It was until 16 minutes from time that Messi scored Barcelona’s second. A Suarez shot rebounded off the crossbar and Messi was in the right place to finish into the open goal.

It was Messi who gave Barcelona complete control of the tie eight minutes later, when he directed a 25-yard free-kick into the top corner of the net.

Salah should have clawed one back for Liverpool before full time, but his shot from six yards rebounded off the post.

Cover Photo: Crest by cchana used under license by CC BY 2.0.

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