Liverpool’s Robertson stopping Messi and Suarez counter-attack deserved more credit

  • Rob Swan
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May 1 2021 marks the second anniversary of Barcelona’s 3-0 victory over Liverpool at Camp Nou.

Inspired by a wonderful performance from Lionel Messi, the Catalan giants left themselves with one foot in the Champions League final after outclassing their opponents.

Former Liverpool star Luis Suarez broke the deadlock midway through the first half before Messi’s late double stunned Jurgen Klopp’s side. The Argentine’s second goal will always be remembered as one of the best free-kicks in Champions League history.

However, it was always likely to be a different story back at Anfield in front of the Reds’ passionate supporters.

Liverpool’s extraordinary 4-0 victory over Messi at co. in the second leg six days later sits alongside the most remarkable Champions League performances of all time.

Andy Robertson's defending vs Barcelona

But would the tie have been out of Liverpool’s reach completely if it wasn’t for a moment of defensive brilliance involving Andy Robertson that probably didn’t get enough credit?

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Following a Liverpool corner in stoppage-time, Marc-Andre ter Stegen gathered the ball and immediately rolled it out to Messi.

The legendary six-time Ballon d’Or winner sprinted away from Liverpool’s chasing pack, flanked by Suarez and Jordi Alba.

Robertson, who was on his own inside the Liverpool half, ran back while keeping his eyes firmly fixed on the ball.

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The Scottish left-back assessed the situation brilliantly and sprinted to Suarez when Messi laid the ball off to his teammate.

Robertson then executed his last-ditch sliding tackle on Suarez to perfection, sparing Liverpool the embarrassment of conceding a fourth goal in the process.

Video: Robertson stops Messi and Suarez counter-attack

Watch the video here...

Alisson’s reaction said it all. The Liverpool goalkeeper applauded Robertson’s effort to thwart Barcelona’s counter-attack. Given the passage of play occurred in the 92nd minute, with his team already 3-0 down, the applause was justified.

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Had Barça scored, Liverpool would have required four goals at Anfield - without reply - just to take the semi-final tie to extra-time.

But 3-0 meant Klopp’s side still had a glimmer of hope.

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Liverpool went on to lift the European Cup

Divock Origi and substitute Georginio Wijnaldum both scored a brace apiece back at Anfield to send Liverpool through to the Champions League final.

Robertson and his teammates then lifted the European Cup on June 1, 2019, after defeating Tottenham 2-0 at the Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid.

While the heroes of that night at Anfield - the likes of Origi, Wijnaldum and Trent Alexander-Arnold - received most of the credit, Robertson’s crucial contribution late in the first leg shouldn’t be forgotten.

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(Credit: The Football Terrace)

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