Barcelona simply could not compete with the Italians’ physicality as Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi were outmuscled and out-thought by the likes of Kevin Strootman and Daniele De Rossi.
Edin Dzeko and a De Rossi penalty gave the visitors jitters before defender Kostas Manolas finished the job.
Barca’s ratings make for grim reading …
Marc-Andre ter Stegen 8 – Repelled Dzeko, Nainggolan and Schick and was ultra-quick off his line. El Shaarawy near the end too, but wasn’t enough.
Nelson Semedo 4 – Clearly rattled under pressure and has a tendency to make poor decisions in dangerous areas.
Gerard Pique 4 – Earns one point alone for his superb last-ditch block on Schick in first half. But foul on Dzeko for the penalty was inexplicable.
Samuel Umtiti 3 – In no man’s land for the opener and his jitters noticeably transferred across the back-line. Another poor performance
Jordi Alba 5 – Was always going to lose the battle against powerful attackers, but was the most convincing piece of Barca’s ill-fitting jigsaw.
Sergi Roberto 4 – Offered nothing going forward and afforded little protection down his flank. Surely Dembele would have been a better option.
Ivan Rakitic 5 – The only Barca player to give any thrust but even that faded after the opening stages, as Roma never wavered.
Sergio Busquets 4 – Metronomic midfielder was knocked around and made little impact up against Roma’s energy.
Andres Iniesta 3 – Ran down several blind alleys and could do nothing to prevent the red tide.
Lionel Messi 4 – Who can remember the little wizard playing as badly as this? Hounded all night by Nainggolan, Strootman and De Rossi.
Luis Suarez 3 – Did a lot of pouting to very little effect, though was isolated given Roma’s midfield dominance.
Ousmane Dembele NA – Far too little, far too late in last five minutes. Where was he when Barca needed to turn the tide?
Andre Gomes NA – Story is more about Iniesta being taken off in last 10 minutes – shows how ineffective the captain was.
Paco Alcacer NA – A last frantic roll of the dice, but Alcacer is not a guy who turns up double sixes.
Liverpool survived the early concession of a goal to complete the job at Manchester City and roar into the Champions League’s semi-finals.
Holding a 3-0 advantage from the first leg at Anfield, some nerves would have been caused when ex-Red Raheem Sterling robbed Virgil van Dijk and teed up Gabriel Jesus for a second-minute tap-in.
But Jurgen Klopp’s men held firm to earn a 2-1 win on the night and 5-1 triumph on aggregate. Mohamed Salah chipped in before the hour mark, before the superb Roberto Firmino soon dispossessed Nicolas Otamendi and found the bottom corner for the second
This made it three defeats in a week for the chastened Premier League’s champions-elect.
Here are our Liverpool player ratings:
Loris Karius – 6: Lack of work would have surprised ex-City youth player. Only had to repel three shots on target.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 8: Did another solid job on Sane, despite City’s overload. Led way with an impressive six interceptions.
Dejan Lovren – 7: One rash challenge on Sterling aside, the Croatia centre-back was superb. Flicked Bernardo Silva’s shot onto the post.
Virgil van Dijk – 6: Tantrum after Sterling challenge led to early opener. Then went on to dominate aerially in typical fashion.
Andrew Robertson – 6: Nothing spectacular in attack this time from rampaging Scot. Steadily suppressed Bernardo Silva’s influence.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 6: Nearly finished off wonderful move, but shot high from tight angle. Industrious, without any real highlights.
Georginio Wijnaldum – 6: Stand-in for suspended Jordan Henderson improved dramatically after the break. Ended up making team’s fourth-most passes with 28.
James Milner – 7: The ex-City midfielder’s knee was forensically analysed for Sane’s disallowed goal. Otherwise, diligently stuck to his task.
Sadio Mane – 7: Second red card of season at City looked possible when he crunched Otamendi. Showed wonderful skill for Salah’s goal.
Mohamed Salah – 7: Goal 39 of this incredible debut campaign was chipped in with minimum fuss, his first real involvement.
Roberto Firmino – 8: Brazil forward was selfless personified. Made two tackles and tracked back well. Punished Otamendi superbly to kill all doubts with second.
Ragnar Klavan – N/A: Performed miserably in September’s 5-0 drubbing at Etihad Stadium. Much better in brief cameo this time.
Nathaniel Clyne – N/A: England man’s comeback from long-term injury continued with his minutes on pitch.
Danny Ings – N/A: Barely got a kick during his few minutes on the pitch.
The Catalans are hot favourites at Stadio Olimpico after a pair of own goals last week were added to by Gerard Pique and Luis Suarez’s strikes.
Roma rested their entire first-choice XI for the 2-0 weekend defeat to Fiorentina, so they at least should be fresh enough to embrace the challenge.
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