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Tuesday 20 August 2019

'Biggest ridicule in history'

Philippe Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho

Barcelona were subjected to "the biggest ridicule in history", according to the Spanish media, as Liverpool left the Catalans "blushing" with a remarkable 4-0 Champions League comeback win at Anfield.

Ernesto Valverde's LaLiga champions arrived on Merseyside boasting a 3-0 advantage following last week's semi-final first leg, but their dreams of reaching a June 1 final were dramatically crushed.

Barca, in shipping four unanswered goals to Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum, wrote "the darkest page" of a glorious club chronicle which also features 26 Spanish title wins and five European Cups.

The Catalan daily Sport was among the many newspapers to hark back to last season's capitulation against Roma, where a 4-1 first-leg lead was scrubbed out in the Italian capital - "just as in Rome, the team did not know how to protect their advantage and the fourth goal demonstrated that".

That late strike, Origi turning home Trent Alexander-Arnold's clever corner while the Barca defence stood off, was a cause for much consternation back in Catalonia.

An editorial in Catalan-language daily L'Esportiu de Catalunyu bemoaned an "unforgivable" goal that followed "a lack of concentration unworthy of any professional team, not even of a youth team".

Player ratings handed out to the members of the Blaugrana rearguard and goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen in Sport were capped at three out of 10. Ter Stegen was "clueless, Gerard Pique "under assault", Clement Lenglet "unsafe" and left-back Jordi Alba "erratic".

Midfielder Ivan Rakitic and former Reds forward Philippe Coutinho were awarded zero marks, with the Brazilian hailed as "a danger to the team".

Only Lionel Messi, the two-goal star of the first leg, and Chilean schemer Arturo Vidal emerged with any credit, receiving marks of five.

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