Barcelona last tasted defeat in the Champions League last season in a 3-0 loss against AS Roma and Liverpool can learn from it.
Barca headed into the game with a 4-1 first-leg win. Despite that, they found themselves out of the Champions League after 90 more minutes of football.
So how did Roma make that happen? Fortunately for Liverpool, they exploited Barcelona in ways the Reds are familiar with.
Direct passes from deep
Roma frequently went long in the game, primarily straight down the middle for Edin Dzeko to chase. The first goal, after six minutes, came that way, as did the foul that led to the penalty.
The lack of pressing from Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez was a huge reason for that. It allowed time on the ball around the half-way line and Roma were more than happy to exploit that.
It’s also something Liverpool are good at. As recently as last Friday, Mo Salah scored after a beautifully weighted pass from Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Crosses into the box
Another key trait of Liverpool’s and another way Roma created chances. They didn’t put any away from open play, but they did worry Barcelona. Both Stephen El Shaarway and Patrick Schick should have scored after getting on the end of crosses.
Given the prowess and form of Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson, this bodes well for Liverpool. Again, just last Friday, Liverpool scored three times from crosses into the box.
Kostas Manolas then grabbed the decisive goal from a corner. That’s another area Liverpool could exploit, being by far the most productive set-piece team in England.
Physicality up top
This is one area that Liverpool can’t match Roma. Edin Dzeko caused havoc for the Italians, using his height and power to hold up the ball and bulldoze through players right down the middle.
Liverpool simply don’t have a player like that. While they may be able to take from Roma’s success in key areas, they’ll have to find a different way to replicate this one.
Learning from Roma to beat Barcelona
It’s clear that Liverpool can have similar joy that Roma had. Two of the key area of Roma’s success plays right into Liverpool’s hand. This isn’t merely a case of ‘this is what Roma did so let’s do that’ but rather that the Reds’ natural game plays into it.
That’s vital. It suggests that Liverpool may have similar success against Barcelona that Roma had, simply from playing the way they know how.