Barcelona and Liverpool each have five European Cups to their name, and are bidding to take a significant step towards a sixth as they meet for the first time in more than a decade – the teams’ third semifinal contest in Uefa club competition.
Barcelona are in the Uefa Champions League semifinals for the first time since winning their fifth European title four seasons ago, although they have won only two of their last five contests at this stage. Liverpool, meanwhile, have reached successive semifinals and will be seeking to extend an unbeaten sequence at the Camp Nou.
While Barcelona have won their last two games at Anfield, Liverpool are unbeaten in away games against Barcelona, recording two wins and two draws on their four previous visits.
This is the teams’ ninth fixture, six of the previous eight having come in a six-year period between 2001 and 2007. There has been little between the sides with three Liverpool wins and two for Barcelona, each team scoring six goals – although the English club have won all three two-legged contests on aggregate.
Liverpool were 2-1 winners over the two games in the clubs’ first tie, in the 1975/76 Uefa Cup semifinals. John Toshack scored the only goal of the first leg at the Camp Nou, and Phil Thompson’s 51st-minute goal at Anfield proved enough for progress despite Carles Rexach levelling on the night a minute later. The Reds went on to win the trophy, defeating Club Brugge in the final.
The clubs’ next meetings, in the 2000/01 Uefa Cup semifinals, also proved tight, Liverpool’s Gary McAllister scoring the only goal of the tie from the penalty spot in the 44th minute of the second leg at Anfield. Once again, Liverpool went on to win the competition that season, beating another Spanish side, Alavés, in the final.
Barcelona came out on top when the teams reconvened later that year in the Uefa Champions League second group stage, Patrick Kluivert, Fábio Rochemback and Marc Overmars overturning Michael Owen’s 27th-minute opener in a 3-1 win at Anfield. The game at the Camp Nou finished scoreless, both sides progressing to the quarterfinals, where Liverpool were eliminated by Bayer Leverkusen; Barcelona lost to Real Madrid in the last four.
Barça were also victorious on their most recent visit to Anfield, Eidur Gudjohnsen scoring the only goal in the 2006/07 Uefa Champions League round of 16 – but that was insufficient to repair the damage of a 2-1 first-leg defeat at the Camp Nou. Craig Bellamy and John Arne Riise got the Liverpool goals after Deco had given the home side an early lead.