Liverpool faces a hefty task on Tuesday as it needs to score at least four goals at home against Barcelona to secure a berth in next month’s UEFA Champions League Final.
Jurgen Klopp’s side was picked out on several occasions at the Camp Nou last week and need a confident attacking performance against the La Liga winners. Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez were rested this weekend in league play while Liverpool dug deep to earn a 3-2 win over Newcastle United.
In other semifinal, Tottenham faces a trip to Ajax on Wednesday, looking to overturn a 1-0 aggregate deficit. The Eredivisie side scored on the road and currently holds the away goal tiebreaker. Ajax is coming off a Dutch Cup Final win while Tottenham had two players sent off in a league loss at Bournemouth.
Here’s a closer look at this week’s Champions League action:
Liverpool vs. Barcelona (Tuesday, 3 p.m., EST. TNT. Barcelona leads 3-0 on aggregate.)
Injuries to Note: Mohamed Salah will miss out for Liverpool after suffering a head injury in a win over Newcastle. Roberto Firmino is also listed as out for the hosts. Ousmane Dembele is the major absentee for Barcelona after leaving Saturday’s loss to Celta Vigo.
Key to the Match: Liverpool has to go for thie match from the opening whistle and needs its forwards to have an impact. Sadio Mane, Divock Origi, and Daniel Sturridge are the likely starters due to injuries and have to get after a stubborn Barca backline. Barcelona can defend but will most likely look to put Liverpool out of the tie early.
Players to Watch: Liverpool wing backs Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold have been two of the best in England and need to supply good service into the box on Tuesday. Suarez and Messi both scored last week and are well rested after being left out of the squad over the weekend.
Quote: “We are far away from giving up,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said. “There is hope. If there is an opportunity to go to the next round, we have to try.”
Ajax vs. Tottenham (Wednesday, 3 p.m., EST. TNT. Ajax leads 1-0 on aggregate.)
Injuries to Note: Tottenham remains without Harry Kane while Harry Winks is shut down for the season. Jan Vertonghen should be available after a head injury suffered in last week’s first leg. Ajax should have a healthy squad to choose from after its Dutch Cup win on Sunday.
Key to the Match: Tottenham cannot allow Ajax to play its game.With Kane out, Spurs need their forwards to provide opportunities especially on the counter. Ajax will look to soak up pressure, but try to score early to make things more comfortable.
Players to Watch: Moussa Sissoko has had a strong season for Spurs and will have to go up against Ajax starlet Frenkie De Jong. Both players have explosiveness to them and will be influential in whoever advances from this tie.
Quote: “I think this week will be the biggest of the season for us because, we beat Ajax, we can be in the final of the Champions League and that would be something amazing for everyone,” Sissoko said.