Former Barcelona coach Jon Aspiazu has revealed they feared losing to Liverpool before their shock 4-0 defeat at Anfield in 2019.
The Spanish champions met Liverpool in the semi-final of the competition two years ago and, after a commanding 3-0 win at the Camp Nou in the first-leg, were widely expected to be taking part in that year’s final.
However, a stunning evening at Anfield six days later saw them sensationally knocked out of the tournament, which Liverpool would later go on to win.
Two goals apiece from Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum saw Liverpool heading to Madrid that year, a prospect that had looked near impossible when the game began.
The result, and the Reds performance that evening, has since gone down in Champions League folklore as a prime example of the kind of drama-filled evening the competition can provide.
While Liverpool have continued to flourish since, Barcelona have been on a downward trajectory, with many citing that result at Anfield as the cause.
That is something Aspiazu, who was Ernesto Valverde’s assistant at the club during his time in charge, openly agrees is the case.
“Going into that game the technicians were going with many fears,” he told AS.
“In fact, during the technical chat a player said to us ‘boss, how we are going to lose today?’ and Valverde said to him ‘I am the manager, I have to put myself in all the situations’.
“The match in Liverpool was much more even than the final result reflected. But the last goal was so decisive and so unusual that it ended up being an incredible burden.”