Liverpool have a huge task on their hands if they are to match last season’s run to the Champions League final as they trail Barcelona 3-0 from last week’s semi-final first leg.
Former Reds striker Luis Suarez opened the scoring in the first half at Camp Nou, before Lionel Messi added two more goals in the final 15 minutes – including an incredible 30-yard free kick – to put Barca in complete control ahead of this return fixture.
Liverpool have reached successive Champions League semi-finals but they now have it all to do against a team who have won their last two matches at Anfield.
If the Reds’ task was not big enough already, they will have to attempt the three-goal turnaround without key men Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah.
Firmino played the final 11 minutes of the first leg but is struggling with a muscular injury, while Salah was concussed in Saturday’s 3-2 league win against Newcastle United and Jurgen Klopp has confirmed he is out of this second leg.
The victory at St James’ Park at the weekend ensures that the Premier League title race will go down to the wire. With one match to go – a home meeting with Wolverhampton Wanderers next Sunday – it is looking increasingly likely that all of Klopp’s eggs are sitting in one basket.
Liverpool may go into the final game of the season needing a helping hand from elsewhere, though, as Manchester City can regain top spot in the Premier League with victory at home to Leicester City in Monday’s match at the Etihad Stadium.
For now, as has been the case for a number of months, Klopp can only take it one game at a time. The midweek visit of Barcelona is now effectively a free hit of sorts, with last week’s late collapse in the first leg surely leaving them with too much to do.
Liverpool are unbeaten in 19 home matches in all competitions, only enjoying a longer run once under Klopp – a run of 25 between January 2016 and January 2017 – and that is a record the German will want to keep intact.
Liverpool have not conceded a Champions League goal at Anfield in 367 minutes, since Kylian Mbappe scored for Paris Saint-Germain in September’s group-stage clash, keeping four clean sheets in a row.
Making that five in succession in European competition for the first time since October 1984 is the absolute minimum the Merseyside outfit must achieve on Tuesday, while hoping that their attacking stand-ins – possibly Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri – can help to score the three goals needed at the other end of the field.
One goal for Barca, though, will leave Liverpool needing four goals. Against this Barca side, with 16 league clean sheets to their name this term, that is next to impossible.
Barcelona will not be taking anything for granted when they make the trip to Merseyside, having somehow squandered an identical three-goal lead to crash out at the quarter-final stage against Roma last season.
Roma, who unlike Liverpool had an away goal to their name, took Barca apart in the home leg to produce one of the all-time greatest comebacks.
Liverpool also have their own Champions League highlight reel when it comes to dramatic one-off matches, not least the 2005 final when three goals down against AC Milan with 45 minutes to play.
Yet comebacks of this nature are few and far between, making them all the more special when they do occur.
Barcelona have already won two away Champions League games in England this season, winning 4-2 at Tottenham Hotspur in the group stage and 1-0 at Manchester United in the quarter-finals – no side has ever won three away games in England in a major European competition in a single season.
The Catalan giants have won just five of their last 18 away Champions League knockout ties, meanwhile, but four of those five victories have come in England, with the other against PSG in April 2015.
It has hardly the most inspiring of returns for a club as successful as Barca down the years, yet this is the first time they have made it this far in the competition since lifting the famous trophy in 2015.
With the La Liga title being wrapped up last month with a few matches to spare, and a Copa del Rey final clash with Valencia on the horizon, Ernesto Valverde could become just the third man in the club’s proud history to pull off the clean sweep.