It is official. Two of the biggest names in football history will face off in this season’s UEFA Champions League semi-final tie.
Liverpool will travel to Catalonia, Spain to take on the Blaugrana at Camp Nou – which of course is the largest stadium not only in Spain but in Europe – on 1 May 2019 for the first leg of the semi-final with the second leg taking place a mere week later at Anfield on 7 May 2019.
The two sides have 10 European Cups and 16 European Cup finals between them and played against each other for the first time 43 years ago in the UEFA Cup semi-final. They have played a total of eight official fixtures, three of which have been draws. Liverpool have beaten Barcelona thrice in that time and lost twice and last played the Catalonian side in 2006-07 in the UCL last of 16 and Rafa Benitez was at the helm.
Now, after beating Porto with an incredible 6 – 1 aggregate, the Reds are through to their second UCL semi-final in a row to take on a Barcelona side who boasts Lionel Messi and former Reds Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho. And, although Liverpool went into the Porto game already knowing who their opponents would be due to Barcelona beating Manchester United the night before, Joe Gomez is insistent that the Reds have not had much time to process that fact yet and told the club’s official website:
We haven’t really thought about it [the Barcelona tie] until now. Obviously, we knew it was set in stone who we’d get. We knew we had to see out this game and [not] underestimate them [Porto]. It’ll be a difficult game. They’re one of the best in the world clearly and they’ve probably got the best player in the world and many others around him.
So, it’s going to be a difficult game, but that’s what the Champions League is about. You don’t get this far to have easy games and we know you have to earn your place in the next round. We knew, coming here away from home, it would be a different game. We had to be prepared for them to come out strong and it was difficult in the first 30 minutes, but we managed to get a goal and then the boys saw it out and it was a good result in the end.
We knew we had to treat this as a separate game and play as we do. Us getting the goals obviously helped and that’s us being us.
And I for one cannot wait for our beloved Liverpool to show the world exactly what “us being us” truly means.
For us as Liverpool supporters, we do know that it means more.