Andy Robertson has the unenviable task of facing probably the greatest player to have ever graced a football field on Wednesday evening.
Lionel Messi is enjoying a jaw-dropping season and is the heavy favourite to win the Ballon d’Or – although we hope if Liverpool collect the Premier League or the Champions League then one of our players would be nailed on!
The legendary often starts on the right-wing, where Robbo would technically be his direct opponent, but Messi drifts in-field, between the centre-backs, just off the striker and really – wherever he pleases – so it’s not like the Scot will be in endless one-on-one situations.
Robbo said he hasn’t tried to do anything special in preparation to face Barcelona’s no.10, referencing the fact that in Coutinho, they have plenty of other exceptional attacking options.
Our world-class left-back told UEFA, cited by the club’s official website: “I don’t think you have to prepare any differently from any other game.
“Of course, you’re playing against a better player than you usually would… he’s the best player in the world. You can maybe watch clips, although I don’t know if that would help, mind you!
“But I think we all need to be prepared because he drifts all over the pitch. You watch him, and sometimes he’s back in the centre-half spot, picking up the ball from deep and things like that, so he’ll start on the right but I’m prepared for him not to stay out there. But I know he’ll be running at us at times, and it’s all about how we defend it.
“We need to defend in packs, but the problem is that it’s not just him. If you keep him quiet, then you’ve got [Philippe] Coutinho, who we all know well, you’ve got [Luis] Suarez and people like that who can cause you problems, so it’s not about keeping one man quiet, it’s about keeping the whole team quiet, and that’ll be the hardest thing for us.”
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It’ll be mighty interesting to see who Klopp deploys against Barca tomorrow.
The defence picks itself, with Alisson between the sticks, Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back, Robbo at left-back; with Virgil van Dijk partnering Joel Matip in the middle.
Up top, Sadio Mane and Mo Salah will flank Roberto Firmino – but it’s the midfield that requires big decisions.
We reckon Fabinho will anchor the side as a no.6, with Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum either side.
This will be considered harsh on Naby Keita, who has three goals in five games, but is likely a smart tactical decision – with Messi set to fill any holes in our midfield at will.