The half-time substitution Jurgen Klopp should have made vs Barcelona

Liverpool have it all to do if they want to reach the final of the Champions League following their 3-0 semi-final first leg defeat against Barcelona at the Camp Nou on Wednesday, and manager Jurgen Klopp should shoulder some of the blame for the defeat.

With the returning Roberto Firmino clearly not fit enough to start having been named on the substitutes’ bench, the German boss decided to pick Georginio Wijnaldum behind Mo Salah and Sadio Mane with James Milner, Naby Keita and Firmino adrift of him.

It was a tactic that worked pretty well considering the Reds enjoyed a lot of possession against their Spanish counterparts, and even though they found themselves 1-0 down at half-time they had played well and Klopp should have spotted an opportunity there and then.

It was clear that the Merseyside outfit could deploy their usual 4-3-3 system at this stage to try and get that all-important away goal, whilst still being relatively strong from a defensive point of view.

With Firmino clearly not able to play 45 minutes given he wasn’t introduced until the 78th minute, the interval was the ideal time to bring Xherdan Shaqiri on for Wijnaldum.

The Switzerland international has had a real lack of game time in recent months following an impressive spell in the team previously, which has been something of a mystery.

However, he would have been an effective option in a front three alongside Mane and Salah against Ernesto Valverde’s men, and he has that ability to create something out of nothing – whether it be a goal or a chance.

That change could have swung the fixture in Liverpool’s favour in terms of creating opportunities and putting the ball in the back of the net, but instead they found themselves two and then three goals behind thanks to a quick-fire Lionel Messi brace in the second 45 minutes.

The Reds have it all to do at Anfield on Tuesday, but it could have been less of an uphill task had Klopp rolled the dice and brought Shaqiri on at half-time.