Jose Mourinho has warned Liverpool that they cannot go man-to-man against Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi when the two sides meet in the Champions League semi-final.
The Merseysiders booked their place in the last four of the competition with a comprehensive 6-1 aggregate win over Porto, though the Spanish champions will be a far tougher challenge.
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Barca eased past Mourinho’s old club Manchester United in midweek, with Lionel Messi scoring two goals in four frantic minutes to take his tally in Europe to 10 for the season.
The Argentine is the leading scorer in the Champions League and Mourinho says Liverpool will need to build a ‘cage’ to stop him from adding to is tally in two weeks’ time.
“Messi is having a phenomenal season and now with Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo outside this fight, he knows also that the golden ball is there waiting for him,” Mourinho told Russia Today.
“Messi is easy to understand, but it’s not easy to create a cage to control him, because he comes from the right, but then stays in the middle. It’s very difficult.
“When Messi has the ball, one, one, one, you are dead. That’s why I never liked the individual man-to-man against Messi. Messi is a cage. You have to create a cage.”
Jurgen Klopp has never faced Messi or Barcelona in a competitive match in his career, though did take on the Catalans in a pre-season friendly at Wembley in 2016.
The 31-year-old is enjoying another remarkable season, scoring 45 times in 41 appearances in all competitions – leading the La Liga and Champions League scoring charts – while he has also laid on 20 assists, Metro said.
Liverpool will be hoping to make it two out of two Champion League finals.