Barcelona not getting complacent despite 3-0 lead
Coach Valverde insists semi-final tie is not over despite having 3-0 lead over Liverpool
Despite taking a 3-0 first-leg lead in their Champions League semi-final against Liverpool, Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde warned that their place in the final was far from assured.
A goal from Luis Suarez and two second-half strikes from Lionel Messi - the latter the Argentinian's 600th goal for Barca - gave the Catalans a dream victory in front of 98,000 fans at a raucous Nou Camp yesterday morning (Singapore time), despite an admirable display from Liverpool.
But Valverde pointed to his team's sensational exit from last year's competition to AS Roma after a 4-1 cushion from the first leg and said they would be taking nothing for granted in Tuesday's return game at Anfield.
Roma turned the tables in the second leg and sent Barca crashing out of last year's competition with a 3-0 win in Italy.
Valverde said: "We won't go there with precautions but experience must count for something.
"The tie is still open and we haven't got through yet."
But former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is confident that history will not repeat itself this time.
Speaking on beIN Sports, Wenger said: "This time, they are (La Liga) champions, they can rest who they want, they can prepare the game and they have that in mind, that will not happen again."
Following yesterday's win, Valverde also remained wary of the threat that Liverpool pose.
He said: "We saw how Liverpool manage games and the pace with which they play, and we cannot forget that we can't afford to feel extra confident."
Liverpool had scored seven goals in their last two Champions League away games against Bayern Munich and Porto and, despite falling behind to a strike from their former forward Suarez, they showed huge ambition in attack.
Unfortunately, they just couldn't find the net with Sadio Mane scooping his effort over, while Mohamed Salah's shot hit the post after Ivan Rakitic made a goal-line clearance.
Valverde added: "We cannot lie, it's always a good result when you win and your opponents don't score, but we suffered.
"There are still 90 minutes to go and while we were able to score they could have done so too. They were better than us for some spells and we know what awaits us over there.
"I see a team that has the ability to make any team suffer. Last year, we had a three-goal advantage and we were knocked out. We've picked up a great result but the tie isn't over."
Messi concurred with Valverde and warned his Barcelona teammates that their place in the Champions League final is still not certain.
He said: "It would have been better to win 4-0 than 3-0 but it is a very good result. It's not definitive, we are going to go into a very complicated atmosphere, with a great history."
Barca midfielder Arturo Vidal also expects Liverpool to put up a fight at Anfield.
He said: "We had to suffer a lot tonight and we coped well with it but there are still 90 minutes to go and we have to finish the job over there.
"We have to respect Liverpool a lot because they are a great team and we're convinced that things will be much harder over at their place than tonight." - REUTERS, AFP
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