Barcelona vs. Liverpool score: Messi's magic puts Barca on brink of Champions League final

Barcelona is closing in on an appearance in the Champions League final after destroying Liverpool 3-0 on Wednesday in their semifinal first leg at Camp Nou. Luis Suarez scored the opener against his former team in the first half before Lionel Messi added two goals in the second half, with his second being one of his best free-kick goals ever.

Here's what to know and see:

First half

Though Liverpool started the game better than the hosts, it was Barca who struck first midway through the first half. Jordi Alba played a world-class ball diagonally toward the front post, and Suarez got in front of Virgil van Dijk and behind Joel Matip to redirect it into the goal. Take a look:

Second half

Barcelona added two goals in the second half, and both were from Messi. In the 75th minute, Messi walked the ball into the net off a rebound from Luis Suarez:

And then he pulled off one of his greatest UCL free kicks with this ridiculous goal in the 82nd minute, going upper 90 on Alisson:

It was a dominant scoreline and one Liverpool will find difficult to digest. Mohamed Salah hit the post in the second half, and James Milner missed a golden chance inside the box as the Reds stare elimination right in the face. 

Goal scorers

⚽ Barcelona - Suarez (26')
⚽ Barcelona - Messi (75')
⚽ Barcelona - Messi (82')

Game-changing moment

It was the third goal, Messi's second. At 2-0, Liverpool still had the realistic possibility of going back to Anfield and winning 2-0 to force extra time. But at 3-0, it's almost as if this is killed off already. 

Player of the game

Messi because of those two goals, but Alba was very good as well. Barca's superstar came alive and probably put this tie away with those crucial goals. Another resounding result. 

The most telling statistic

Liverpool had 15 shots to Barca's 12, and both had five shots on goal. But look at the scoreline, and it just tells you how clinical the Spanish club was. This match could have been 5-0 as it could have been 3-2. Barca was just sharper when it mattered most.

Key coaching decision

Jurgen Klopp started Joe Gomez at right back. Gomez has missed a lot of time due to injury, so why not go with Trent Alexander-Arnold there? Liverpool had a few free kicks where Alexander-Arnold could have been a factor, and his speed and tenacity perhaps would have helped on the right side where Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez had tons of space.

What the result means

This means Barca can almost start packing its bags for the June 1 final. The focus will be simply going to Anfield and getting a goal, because if the team does, Liverpool will have to score five times, and that's probably not going to happen. Liverpool must find the balance of going forward and defending, because if they concede just once, it's pretty much over.

What's next

The semifinal second leg is next Tuesday at Anfield at 3 p.m. ET. You can watch the game on fuboTV (Try for free).

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CBS Sports Writer

Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Full Bio

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