Barcelona is looking to make its ninth Champions League final as it heads into the second leg of its semi-final against Liverpool with a commanding 3-0 lead.
Play gets under way at Anfield stadium on Tuesday at 8pm local time (19:00 GMT).
Lionel Messi scored his 599th and 600th goals for Barcelona to subdue a Liverpool lineup that had outplayed the hosts for long stretches at Camp Nou last week.
His double and Luis Suarez’s early goal against his former club gave Barcelona a commanding win.
Striker Suarez thanked former club Liverpool for raising the standard of his game during a three-and-a-half-year spell at Merseyside, but the Uruguayan is focused on knocking them out of the Champions League.
“The reason I’m playing at Barcelona, at the elite level, is because of Liverpool,” Suarez told reporters on Monday.
“Being at Liverpool helped me in so many ways, it made me more professional, it helped me mature. Having players here with great experience allowed me to be even better.”
It’s always nice to return to the place where you received so much love. A place which I’ll always be so thankful too! 👏👏👏Ready to do my job and achieve my dreams 🔴🔵!!!! #COMEBACK #ANFIELD #THEKOP #YNWA pic.twitter.com/fxfc7Ji7yk
— Luis Suarez (@LuisSuarez9) May 6, 2019
Suarez was crowned PFA player of the year in the 2013/14 campaign for leading Liverpool’s Premier League title challenge, before they were edged out by Manchester City.
The 32-year-old former Liverpool captain, who joined Barcelona in 2014, said that he had no intention of celebrating if he scored at Anfield.
“Celebrating the goal last week, people know the importance of scoring in a Champions League semi-final,” Suarez added. “I have all the respect for Liverpool fans, I’m thankful to them and if I score, I won’t celebrate it in the same way.
“If I score tomorrow it will mean I can feel relaxed and Liverpool have to score more to qualify.”
Meanwhile, home side Liverpool will have their hands full in the absence of strikers Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino after both were ruled out due to injuries.
“The situation with 3-0 against Barcelona is not exactly the situation you want to have before you play the second leg, but we try to win the game,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said at a press conference on Monday.
Teenage striker Rhian Brewster is ready to make his debut in the absence of the injured duo, Klopp said.
Brewster, an England youth international, shot to fame when he won the Golden Boot at the Under-17 World Cup in 2017 where he scored eight goals. He signed his first professional contract last year.
“He’s ready, there’s a big chance,” Klopp told reporters when asked if Brewster would be involved. “It’s nearly sure, it’s guaranteed.
The second leg of the other semi-final on Wednesday pits Dutch side Ajax against Tottenham Hotspur in Amsterdam. Ajax heads into that encounter with a 1-0 lead.
The final will be played on June 1 in Madrid.
SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies