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'He's unstoppable' - Klopp not surprised by Messi's heroics against Liverpool

The Reds boss said Messi’s performance was ‘world class’ after netting a brace during Barcelona’s 3-0 win.

Messi's stunning second-half free-kick.
Messi's stunning second-half free-kick.
Image: Adam Davy

LIONEL MESSI WAS called “unstoppable” by Jurgen Klopp after the Barcelona forward scored twice in a 3-0 Champions League semi-final first-leg win over Liverpool.

Despite keeping him quiet for the majority of the game at Camp Nou, Messi scored a seven-minute brace after Luis Suarez’s opener on Wednesday to reach 600 goals for the club, who took a big step towards reaching the Champions League final thanks to their talisman.

Messi’s first was a routine finish after the ball came back to him off the crossbar following Suarez’s effort, but the second was a delicious whipped free-kick from 30 yards out.

That was his 600th goal for Barca 14 years on from his debut and it was another night where Messi proved to be pivotal for his team.

“In these moments, he’s unstoppable,” Klopp told a press conference. “Obviously we couldn’t defend the free-kick. What a strike. He’s a world-class player.

“The second goal – the 2-0 – was probably not the nicest goal in the career of Lionel Messi but it shows his skills that he’s there in that moment. But apart from that I was happy with how we defended.

“I’m a big admirer of him but my boys tonight didn’t show too much respect. They were there, tried with completely legal things. We didn’t treat him harshly or whatever to try to get him out of the game. We played just football and I like that.

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“I knew before that Lionel is a world-class player and now I saw it again. I’m not too surprised, to be honest.”

Liverpool were largely on top after Suarez struck first, but Sadio Mane fired over from a one-on-one before James Milner – twice – and Mohamed Salah were denied by Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Messi’s late brace, which preceded Salah hitting the post, has now left Barcelona firmly in charge of the tie, with Klopp unwilling to sugar-coat the situation.

Asked if his team still have a chance to progress, Klopp replied: “Because it’s football, yes, but before this game we had a bigger chance, let me say it like this.

“It’s difficult. What can I say? It’s Barcelona. That’s difficult to avoid.

“Because it’s football, we should still try but it’s not a night for being really mouthy and saying, ‘It’s exactly what we wanted. It’s half-time, score an early goal and all that s***’. It will be another really difficult game.”

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