Liverpool v Barcelona: Key tactics as Arturo Vidal holds key to Champions League final

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Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal

Barcelona travel to Anfield knowing one goal would surely be enough to secure safe passage into their first Champions League final since 2014/15.

Ernesto Valverde’s men take a 3-0 advantage from Camp Nou over to Liverpool and having rested their entire XI from the first leg against Celta Vigo on Saturday, the side is primed to finish the job.

However, Valverde did lose one counter-attacking weapon during their 2-0 defeat to Vigo with Ousmane Dembele missing the second-leg after suffering another hamstring injury.

And that absence could mean the Blaugrana boss opts for a more-conservative approach, forming the first of our key Barca tactics.

To read about Liverpool’s click here

PLAY BOTH ROBERTO AND SEMEDO

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One substitution turned the tie in Barca’s favour. When Nelson Semedo arrived on the hour for an ineffective Philippe Coutinho, the Portuguese slotted into the right-back slot allowing Sergi Roberto to switch in ahead of him and Arturo Vidal move out to the left.

A much flatter 4-4-2 allowed Barca dominate the middle areas and with Dembele out injured, Valverde must be tempted to field this side again. The full-backs will provide natural width, Lionel Messi can roam to create chaos with Luis Suarez the focal point.

This sound structure can jail Liverpool’s creation as they struggled to pass through it last Wednesday, while still threatening the other way.

VIDAL AGGRESSION

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Arthur is a very slick operator, but Barca will once again require the disruptive influence of Vidal on Tuesday.

Granted, the Chilean offered absolutely nothing from an attacking perspective in the first-leg, yet his aggressive production defensively was crucial. His five-tackles and two aerials won were a Barca high, adding in two interceptions and one clearance as well.

Should Roberto and Semedo start, Vidal will need to eliminate the threat of Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold and that smothering job requires hard running.

Vidal must be physical in these exchanges to ensure there is no overload, especially when Jordi Alba pushes up the pitch.

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