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Champions League Preview: Liverpool v. Barcelona

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In honor of Star Wars day from a couple of days ago, the famous character Yoda’s most well-known phrase came to mind when thinking about Liverpool heading into its second leg with Barcelona.

Do, or do not. There is no try.

Should the Reds advance to a second-consecutive UEFA Champions League final, they’ll have to do the improbable, score four goals and beat Barcelona on Tuesday night in Liverpool.ย  Barcelona’s 3-0 win last week, concluded with a majestic, out-of-this-world free kick from Lionel Messi, was only the start of the bad run for Liverpool.

[MORE: Man City one win away from PL title]

Since then, the team has long stars Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino to injury, and the team’s defense looked shaky despite a 3-2 win at Newcastle.

There’s not much Jurgen Klopp could have done to help Liverpool avoid Messi’s magic, but he’s doing his best to remove any last vestiges of pressure ahead of Tuesday’s semifinal match.

The situation with the 3-0 is obviously not the situation we want to have before the second leg,” Klopp told reporters on Monday at a press conference. “Two of the world’s best strikers are not available for tomorrow and we have to score four goals to go through. It doesn’t make life easier, but as long as we have 11 players on the pitch we will try. You have to be perfect to beat them. It’s possible that this will be the last Champions League game of the campaign, so let’s celebrate it.”

If Liverpool want to be successful, it’s going to need players like Sadio Mane, Virgil Van Dijk and Fabinho to step up even more than they have so far this season, with players such as Andy Robertson, Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum all having the games of their lives just to get back to 3-3. As Liverpool showed in Istanbul, overcoming a 3-0 deficit isn’t impossible. But they’ll have to do it.

Regardless of Tuesday’s result, it’s been an outstanding season for Liverpool. They’ve made up more than 20 points in the Premier League and made the Champions League semifinals yet again. However, it appears they’ve met a juggernaut that not even Ajax or Tottenham may be able to defeat in the Champions League final.

For Barcelona, while Ernesto Valverde’s team will know its in control of the tie, the club also knows that its heading into one of Europe’s most difficult environments. In addition, last year, many of this Barcelona squad collapsed at Roma, missing out on another deep Champions League run.

The Blaugrana will be hoping to avoid that fate this time around. One goal should be enough to see them through.

:”If we think about last week’s result it would be an error,” Valverde said. “We have to play it as if it was a final. It’s going to be difficult because we know their fans will get behind them. They have fast players. Sometimes you are put in situations that are uncomfortable. We want to have the feeling that we’re in control. They’re going to attack us, there’s no doubt about that. But we have to focus on ourselves.”

Zlatan saves his best for the best, Galaxy beat LAFC 3-2 (video)

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CARSON, Calif. (AP) Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his second hat trick in Major League Soccer and the LA Galaxy beat rival Los Angeles FC 3-2 on Friday night in their first meeting of the season.

Ibrahimovic, who is second in the league with 16 goals, scored in the 8th, 56th and 70th minutes. The 37-year-old Swedish star’s first MLS hat trick came last season against Orlando City.

Ibrahimovic has six goals in four matches against LAFC in the rivalry nicknamed “El Trafico”.

MLS scoring leader Carlos Vela scored twice for LAFCs. The forward has 21 goals in 20 games and is the fastest to reach 20 goals in a season in MLS history.

LAFC dropped just its third match in 21 matches. It leads MLS with 46 points, but has not been able to beat its rival during its two seasons. The Galaxy (12-8-1) – who moved into second in the Western Conference with 37 points – have two wins while the other two ended in ties.

LAFC (14-3-4) opened the scoring in the fourth minute when Vela converted on a penalty kick. Vela drew the penalty when Galaxy goalkeeper David Bingham came off his line and upended the forward near the goal.

Ibrahimovic evened it four minutes later when he got the feed from Julian Araujo, split defenders Walker Zimmerman and Eddie Segura and fired a shot from the top of the box that beat Tyler Miller.

Ibrahimovic then gave the Galaxy the lead 11 minutes into the second half when he took a pass from Diego Polenta, went over Jordan Harvey and headed it into the net.

He completed the hat trick 14 minutes later with a blast from 21 yards out off Favio Alvarez’s pass.

Vela brought LAFC within a goal in the 97th minute off Eduard Atuesta’s assist.

Watch Live: PL Asia Trophy โ€“ Newcastle v. West Ham, Man City v. Wolves

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Manchester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers aim to collect a bit of silverware on the second Premier League Asia Trophy match day of the summer.

But first, a pair of Uniteds look to get off the map after beatdowns in their tournament openers.

Newcastle United and West Ham United were both walloped in Nanjing, and old hands Steve Bruce and Manuel Pellegrini would be happy to massage a victory out of their men.

Then Pep Guardiola and PL champions City get a taste of Wolves before their Oct. 5 meeting in league play.

Below is the full schedule for Saturdayโ€™s games in Shanghai’s Hongkou Stadium.

Newcastle United v. West Ham United โ€“ 5 a.m. ET โ€“ STREAM LIVE
Man City v. Wolves โ€“ 7:30 a.m. ET โ€“ STREAM LIVE

WATCH: Zlatan stunner answers Vela’s opener in El Trafico

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic is walking it like he talks it, not that that’s anything new.

A few days after claiming superiority over LAFC superstar Carlos Vela, Ibrahimovic and his Galaxy trailed early inย El Trafico via a Vela penalty.

[ MORE:ย Latest on Eriksenย ]

Naturally, Zlatan took it upon himself to answer the bell with his 14th goal in 17 games.

Ibrahimovic chests a long ball onto his right foot, cooking Eduard Atuesta by pushing it into position for a tremendous lash into the LAFC goal.

And if you haven’t been following LAFC’s amazing season, Atuesta’s probably been the side’s best player after Vela, who now has 20 goals in 20 games.

Wizard stuff.

Borussia Dortmund tops Liverpool 3-2 at Notre Dame

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A half-hour of the big guns wasn’t enough to get Jurgen Klopp a result against his former team.

Harry Wilson and Rhian Brewster scored for Liverpool in a 3-2 loss to Borussia Dortmund at the University of Notre Dame on Friday.

Paco Alcacer, Thomas Delaney, and Jacob Bruun Larsen scored for the Black Yellow, who led 3-1 when mass changes began with Virgil Van Dijk, Georginio Wijnaldum, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, and Andrew Robertson entering the match.

Liverpool faces Sevilla on Sunday at Fenway Park in Boston.

[ MORE: Latest on Eriksen ]

Alcacer with the ball in the box is a bad idea, and the Spaniard took advantage of Nathaniel Clyne and Joel Matip to smash home from a yard outside the six.

Wilson leveled the score before halftime, but Delaney made it 2-1 in the 53rd minute when a long diagonal ball beat the Reds line and a low pass across the box went undetected.

It was 3-1 via a clever Bruun Larsen touch to wrong foot James Milner, but Brewster brought the Reds back to within one when he converted a 75th minute penalty won by Ben Woodburn.

Liverpool was without Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah, who are on break after deep summer tournament runs.