Although Liverpool lost 3-0, the game was quite even throughout. Barcelona was put under a lot of pressure at the beginning of the 2nd half and parts of the 1st half. Barcelona was able to defend excellently and they also tried to play long to escape Liverpool's pressure. This is why Barcelona didn't have as much possession as they usually do but it wasn't needed because they were clinical and efficient when they took their chances.
Lineup & Substitutions
Ernesto Valverde set up Barcelona in a great way to counter Liverpool. Liverpool was probably expecting a lineup with Arthur in it since he's started all the big games for Barcelona, but instead, Valverde started with Vidal. This was probably because of Liverpool's intense and extremely physical midfield. Vidal did his job admirably he closed down players, won the ball back, and plugged up gaps. Valverde set up Barcelona to play long, over Liverpool's press and because of that Barcelona were able to get in behind Liverpool's defense.
Generating Scoring Opportunities
Set Pieces (Direct/Indirect)
The front 2 of Coutinho, Messi, and Suarez worked very hard this game since they were playing a different style then they were used to. Suarez was very lively and ended up scoring his first goal in the Champions League this season. Messi was also in devasting form and was in complete control often dropping deep and driving through the middle of Liverpool. Messi and Suarez were also very clinical. They scored the few chances they got. At 2-0 it looked like Liverpool might've got an away goal but Messi silenced them with a sublime free-kick goal.
Executing Defensive Game Plan
Controlling Offensive Pressure
Preventing Scoring Opportunities
Conceding/Defending Set Pieces
Defensively Barcelona was excellent and probably put in their best performance of the season. Barcelona defended in a 4-4-2 shape with the midfield working hard to cover any gaps in front of the defense. The defensive partnership of Pique and Lenglet has also become something incredible this season. They both compliment each other very well and were able to deal with runs from deep from Wijnadum, attacking runs from Mane or Salah, and they put their bodies in front of everything and blocked many shots. They were also excellent at defending corners against a very tall Liverpool team.
Generate Offensive Counterattacks
Defensive Support & Transition
Barcelona decided to go for a workhorse type of midfield in this game against Liverpool. Vidal, Rakitic, and Busquets worked tirelessly as they helped defend against the many Liverpool attacks. Coutinho would often drop in defense to defend the left flank while Rakitic and Busquets covered the middle, and Vidal covered the right flank and all the space Messi left behind whenever he drifted into the middle. Overall the midfield helped a lot defensively which helped Barcelona get the clean sheet. Offensively they were just tasked to find Messi in space or play the ball long to an outlet.
Arturo Vidal (22)
Vidal put in a commanding performance for Barcelona in the midfield. He worked endlessly, stopped many Liverpool attacks, and also acted as outlet for a long ball because of his box-to-box presence.
Lionel Messi (10)
What more is there to say about the best player in the world? Messi was sensational yet again. Although not involved in the play as often as he would've liked, he was decisive and scored the 2 killer goals at the end of the match to most likely end this 2 legged tie against Liverpool.