The Argentine notched up 600 career goals as his late double helped the Blaugrana run out comfortable winners against the Reds at Camp Nou
Lionel Messi has played down his superb free-kick in Barcelona’s win over Liverpool on Wednesday, claiming he was ‘”fortunate” to find the top corner from 30 yards.
The Argentina international netted a late double to build upon Luis Suarez’s first-half effort and hand the Blaugrana a 3-0 victory at Camp Nou ahead of the reverse fixture at Anfield on Tuesday.
The second of thos goals came from a dead ball situation as he beat Alisson from 30 yards – a strike which also saw him bring up his 600th goal for the Spanish champions.
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Ernesto Valverde’s side were far from their best at points and spent much of the second half as the lesser of the two sides, with Jurgen Klopp’s Reds pushing for a then-equaliser.
But two characteristic contributions from Messi ensured that the hosts head to Merseyside the firm favourites to reach the final in Madrid in early June.
Speaking at full-time on the pitch to Italian television, the 31-year-old expressed happiness at how his side had performed in what he described as an “intense” encounter, though he cautioned that despite their significant advantage, they must operate at the same level in six days’ time.
“We had chances to score more but we must be happy with tonight,” Messi stated. “We are aware that it’s not over as we still have to go to their ground. But we’re happy with tonight.
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“It was a very, very intense game. They’re used to playing at that rhythm, with a very physical game, with a lot of counter-attacks.
“We’re very tired now but we have to continue like this, also in the second leg. In the first half, we played well.
“In the second half, they were very good. They had some great chances. We did well to resist. I was very fortunate to find the corner with that goal. It was a beautiful moment. We have to be united.”