Luis Suárez

AP Photo/Manu Fernandez

Liverpool suffers harsh 3-0 loss in Barcelona

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Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez…

Well, if Liverpool supporters knew the recap was going to start like that, they might not have tuned into the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinal against Barcelona on Wednesday.

Messi scored twice, including a breathtaking free kick, after Luis Suarez netted early in a 3-0 win over the Reds at the Camp Nou.

Liverpool was quite good in the second half, and the score line flattered to deceive the hosts, but there is no doubting the Reds are behind the 8-ball.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Liverpool was hit with an injury and then with a deficit, as Naby Keita pulled up with a groin injury before Barcelona took the lead.

Jordi Alba’s curling pass from the left was deftly finished by Suarez, the ex-Liverpool man cutting between Joel Matip and Virgil Van Dijk to flash the ball inside the near post as Alisson Becker flailed to find only air.

A fantastic piece of work from Jordan Henderson nearly cued up an equalizer, but Sadio Mane‘s effort to snap a first touch shot past Ter Stegen sailed over the bar.

The first quality shot of the second half came via Mohamed Salah, who drilled a low shot through traffic which was pawed out for a corner kick.

And the Reds were certainly the better money to score in the second half, which will mean very little considering Barca netted next.

Barcelona made it 2-0 through Messi, who started a dribble through the middle that popped into the path of Suarez. The Uruguayan used his thigh to redirect the ball off the cross bar, and Messi was quicker than Van Dijk at reacting to the rebound.

If that goal was easy, then this one, well, just watch it.

That’s scintillating stuff from the best player in the world, who may just be the actual GOAT.

Liverpool nearly climbed back into it with a pivotal away goal, but the Blaugranas goal line clearance onto the path of Salah was clanked off the post.

Barcelona’s Suarez puts Liverpool down at half (video)

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Luis Suarez has Barcelona up 1-0 on Liverpool at the Camp Nou after a classy finish early in the sides’ UEFA Champions League semifinal first leg on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Liverpool was hit with an injury and then with a deficit, as Naby Keita pulled up with a groin injury before Barcelona took the lead.

Jordi Alba’s curling pass from the left was deftly finished by Suarez, the ex-Liverpool man flashing the ball inside the near post as Alisson Becker flailed to find only air.

A fantastic piece of work from Jordan Henderson nearly cued up an equalizer, but Sadio Mane‘s effort to snap a first touch shot past Ter Stegen sailed over the bar.

Here’s Suarez’s goal:

Early goal holds up for Barcelona at Man Utd (video)

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  • Suarez scores 13th minute opener
  • Man Utd with 10 shots, zero on target
  • Second leg Tuesday in Barcelona

Manchester United out-attempted UEFA Champions League favorites Barcelona but couldn’t find a way into the goal in a 1-0 quarterfinal first leg loss at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Luke Shaw own goal was the difference in a scrappy affair, put behind David De Gea on a play produced by Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

The second leg is Tuesday at the Camp Nou.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

The early stages had a typical “feeling it out” vibe, though Marcus Rashford was especially lively.

Barcelona went ahead, and VAR helped give the goal overcome the linesman’s offside flag. Who knows what he was looking at it, but Suarez’s attempted header of a Messi cross came off Shaw and defied David De Gea with everyone onside. 1-0, 13′.

De Gea saved from Coutinho in the 36th minute, and Barca was buzzing again.

Diego Dalot headed over the goal with the crown of his head after a long cross found him back post.

By the way, Manchester United center back Chris Smalling saw nothing for this:

United has all of the ball and the chances to start the second half, but Barca held firm like Spurs versus Man City a day earlier.

Suarez knifed into the 18 but sliced his shot into the outside of netting in the 65th.

Messi tried to sneak a free kick through the wall but his shot deflected and De Gea adjusted to catch it in the 83rd, the lone moment of interest in a sleepy 10-15 minutes.

Gerard Pique then intervened to stop Anthony Martial from a prime scoring chance. The ensuing corner kick led to nothing.

Here’s the only goal:

Messi, Suarez save Barcelona in 2-0 win over 10-man Atletico Madrid

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Diego Costa was sent off in the 28th minute for Atletico Madrid for abusing the referee, and while it looked like the visitors would miraculously hang on at the Camp Nou, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi were on hand to bail out the Blaugrana with goals in the final five minutes to give Barcelona a 2-0 win and all but secure the La Liga title.

After going up a man, Barcelona put together a stellar attacking display but just couldn’t get over the hump with the visitors packing things in in front of net. Ultimately, Barcelona completed 250 of 297 passes in the attacking third and ripped off 21 shots with 10 on target. Messi had five of the team’s 10 shots on target and also created three chances.

They finally broke through in the 85th minute as Luis Suarez at the top of the box touched inside to his right foot before unleashing a shot that found the back of the net and broke the deadlock. Once Atletico conceded, they fell apart.

Immediately off the restart, Messi put the game away as he burst down the right before slowly making his way towards the middle, and while Jose Gimenez initially produced a tackle to dispossess Messi in the box, the Barcelona star snatched the ball right back and buried a shot.

The win put Barcelona up 11 points at the top of the table, leaving them in prime position to win the La Liga title for the sixth time in the last 10 years. Atletico Madrid now sits in second with 62 points, two above Real Madrid. The victory also made Lionel Messi the winningest player in La Liga history, passing Iker Casillas for his 335th career league win.

Stoppage time stunners for Suarez, super sub Messi in Barcelona comeback

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The game of the season may have just taken place Tuesday in Spain.

Of course, Lionel Messi was at the center of it all, though that wasn’t the plan.

[ MORE: Wolves beat Man Utd ]

Messi came off the bench and needed time to fix things given Barcelona allowed four unanswered goals to blow a two-goal lead at Villarreal. He helped drive his team back to a 4-4 draw which stopped Atletico Madrid from pulling to within seven points of first place in La Liga.

Barca is now unbeaten in 18 league matches since losing 4-3 to Real Betis on Nov. 11.

The final two goals were majestic.

Barcelona led 2-0 after 16 minutes through Philippe Coutinho and Malcom, but the hosts made it 2-1 in short order and scored twice in the first 17 minutes of the second half.

Messi came on for Coutinho just before Villarreal scored their third, then watched as Carlos Bacca cut through the Barca back line to make it 4-2 with 10 minutes to play.

[ MORE: Ream speaks on Fulham’s relegation ]

Alvaro Gonzalez gave Barca some hope with an 86th minute red card for a harsh challenge on Suarez.

Messi then scored a vicious, spinning, 89th minute free kick that — really, you have to see the angle from behind his attempt — whirled just past a defender and defied the flying Sergio Asenjo by smashing the post before zipping around the back of the goal.

Wow.

But Barca still managed to make it look like it would not be able to pull off a miracle as Messi zipped a long range effort over the goal and then Asenjo made a terrific stop after Messi fed Jordi Alba onto the doorstep.

A lofted pass then led to a corner kick. Enter Suarez.