Barcelona disappointment will not derail Liverpool challenge – James Milner

Barcelona disappointment will not derail Liverpool challenge – James Milner

Liverpool vice-captain James Milner has no intention of allowing their Nou Camp disappointment derail their bid to wrest the Premier League title from Manchester City – and he has not written off their European hopes either.

The 3-0 Champions League semi-final first-leg defeat in Barcelona was demoralising not only because the scoreline makes a comeback incredibly tough, but because it showed no reward for their performance.

Having kept Lionel Messi quiet for 75 minutes, Liverpool were undone by a late double from the Argentinian and the players now have to pick themselves off the floor for their crucial penultimate domestic match of the season at Newcastle on Saturday.

Win and they return to the top of the table and the pressure all goes back on City, who face an in-form Leicester on Monday.

And Milner is confident their focus will be spot-on at St James’ Park.

“I think we are used to playing games in quick succession and we’ve seen the character in this squad on more than one occasion over the last few years,” he said.

View this post on Instagram

Tough result to take - but we have to bounce back quickly #YNWA 🔴

A post shared by James Milner (@jamesmilnerofficial) on

“We all know the character that is there. We need to be together and bounce back from that. I have no doubt that this team will do that.”

Considerable doubts remain, however, over their prospects of bouncing back at home to Barcelona next week.

If they can take any hope it is that Roma, whom Liverpool beat in last year’s semi-final, turned around a three-goal deficit against the Catalans.

Crucially, though, they had an away goal, but still scored three unanswered goals at home.

“Obviously it’s possible. If it’s possible anywhere then it is possible at Anfield,” added the veteran midfielder.

“We have seen special European nights there before and big comebacks. It’s going to be very difficult, we know that.

“We have to bounce back quickly from this with a big game at the weekend. Hopefully we can get a good result there and get a bit of positivity going into next week.”

Liverpool need to bounce back at home to Barcelona next week (Nick Potts/PA)
Liverpool need to bounce back at home to Barcelona next week (Nick Potts/PA)

The danger for Liverpool, as was evident in the first leg, is that Messi can be stifled for three-quarters of a game but still put in a decisive performance.

“He’s very hard to stop. He is definitely one of the greatest to have ever played the game, if not the greatest,” said Milner.

“When he does things like he does, it’s tough to stop. We knew that but we thought we could hurt them as well.

“You can’t concentrate on him too much because they have another 10 out there who are pretty good. You try stopping him the best you can when he is obviously on it. It’s very difficult.

“Many teams have tried different ways to do it. The free-kick was obviously pretty much from nothing.

“We have to focus on the positives from our side for the second leg. We created chances and we played a pretty solid game apart from the goals we conceded, which we could have done a bit better.

“But it’s going to be very difficult.”

- Press Association

More on this topic

Fewer students travelling to US with J1 visasFewer students travelling to US with J1 visas

Gardaí investigating car robberies in DublinGardaí investigating car robberies in Dublin

Major incident declared as 100 firefighters tackle UK shopping centre blazeMajor incident declared as 100 firefighters tackle UK shopping centre blaze

'We were a bit sloppy' - Cork Ladies Football manager's estimation of his side's 20-point win'We were a bit sloppy' - Cork Ladies Football manager's estimation of his side's 20-point win

More in this Section

Zinedine Zidane confirms Real Madrid in talks over Gareth Bale exitZinedine Zidane confirms Real Madrid in talks over Gareth Bale exit

Whyte recovers from ninth-round knockdown to beat RivasWhyte recovers from ninth-round knockdown to beat Rivas

The Open day four: Leader Lowry bids to secure first majorThe Open day four: Leader Lowry bids to secure first major

Donal Conway welcomes 'resounding' vote for FAI reform at EGMDonal Conway welcomes 'resounding' vote for FAI reform at EGM


Lifestyle

We’ve all had that feeling at some stage as we step off fast amusement park ride, or simply spin around for fun; that feeling of dizziness and disorientation and finding it difficult to stay upright. But why do we feel dizzy when we spin?Appliance Of Science: Why do we feel dizzy when we spin around?

Padraic Killeen reviews Epiphany from the Town Hall Theatre, Galway.Epiphany Review: Not a straightforward adaptation of Joyce’s scenario

More From The Irish Examiner