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Klopp happy with Liverpool performance in the face of Messi masterclass

Pride in defeat: Jurgen Klopp was pleased with the display
Pride in defeat: Jurgen Klopp was pleased with the display

By Simon Peach

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admitted his side found Lionel Messi too hot to handle last night but he backed his players to learn from the harsh lesson.

Messi's two second-half goals earned Barcelona a handsome 3-0 advantage and left Liverpool with an almighty task in their Champions League semi-final.

Former Reds striker Luis Suarez got the opening goal at the Nou Camp but, just as the visitors were threatening to equalise, the Argentinian genius struck.

His first goal was via a huge stroke of luck as Suarez's shot rebounded off the crossbar to offer a tap in - but the second was an absolutely sublime 25-yard free-kick.

Ousmane Dembele should have put the tie out of the Premier League side's reach in the closing seconds, but he scuffed it straight at Alisson from a few yards out.

Klopp accepted his men were the latest victims of Messi's magic, saying: "Football is like this, it's about scoring goals and they scored three and we scored none.

"I'm really happy with the performance, that's how it is, of course not too happy with the result but that's football. We have to accept that.

"How we caused them problems was outstanding and we controlled the game in the second half. It was bad defending for the first goal but 1-0 is not a big problem.

"Going out for the second half, I don't know if we can play much better. But they had one moment against the crossbar and then Lionel Messi's there for an easy goal, and the other one is a wonder strike. It was unsaveable.

"Let's recover now, go to Newcastle (in the Premier League) and learn from it."

The result was Liverpool's joint-heaviest Champions League defeat after also losing 3-0 at Real Madrid in October 2014.

Former Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas tweeted: "Hats off to Liverpool, what an amazing performance. You can only lose a game like that if against you there is a good team but specially a player that is well above the rest."

The scoreline was harsh on Liverpool, who appeared to have weathered the storm and were causing Barca boss Ernesto Valverde enough concern for him to replace another former Anfield favourite, Philippe Coutinho, with right-back Nelson Semedo and change to a 4-4-2 formation.

But in the blink of an eye the 1-0 lead became three - making a comeback next week not impossible but incredibly difficult without an away goal.

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