Tuesday 12 November, 2019

Messi hits 600 goals with brace, Barca beat Liverpool 3-0

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the Champions League semifinal, first leg, football match against Liverpool at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, May 1, 2019.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the Champions League semifinal, first leg, football match against Liverpool at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, May 1, 2019.

Lionel Messi hit the 600-goal mark for Barcelona after scoring twice to lead the Spanish club to a 3-0 victory over Liverpool in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal on Wednesday.

Luis Suarez opened the scoring against his former club in the 26th minute against a Liverpool side that spurned a couple of good chances to equalize during a strong spell after the halftime break.

Messi then quashed the comeback effort when he doubled the lead from a rebound with 15 minutes left and followed that up by making it 600 career goals for Barcelona by curling in a perfectly struck free kick in the 82nd.

Liverpool dominated long stretches of the match but failed to finish their chances when they had the hosts on their back foot, especially early in the second half. Mohamed Salah still almost grabbed a valuable away goal for Liverpool late when he hit the post.

Coached by Ernesto Valverde, Barcelona are aiming to replicate the treble of titles they achieved in 2009 under Pep Guardiola and 2015 under Luis Enrique. They clinched the Spanish league title last weekend and play Valencia in the Copa del Rey final on May 25.

Liverpool are trying to reach consecutive Champions League finals after losing last season 3-1 to Real Madrid.

Barcelona extended their unbeaten streak at home in Europe's elite club competition to 32 straight matches, a run that started in 2013.

The return leg at Anfield is next Tuesday.

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