Lionel Messi put Barcelona to within a touching distance of the Champions League final on Wednesday after firing a stunning brace to down Liverpool 3-0 at the Camp Nou.
Former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez opened the scoring midway through the opening half of the semi-final first leg before Messi struck twice in seven second-half minutes to leave the Reds with a mountain to climb in the tie despite an impressive performance in Catalonia.
Messi’s second, an incredible long-range free-kick, was his 600th Barca goal in all competitions.
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The two sides meet again next Tuesday for the decisive second leg at Anfield.
“How we caused them problems was outstanding,” said Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.
“I don’t know if we can play much better. But one moment there’s Messi with an easy goal and the second was unsaveable.”