Messi laments Barca loss to Liverpool

TerStegenCropped

TerStegenCropped

Having let a 4-1 first-leg lead slip in the quarter-finals against Roma a year ago, the Blaugrana saw a 3-0 advantage overturned by Jurgen Klopp's side in the last four this season.

Messi was unable to stem the tide as Jurgen Klopp's side ran riot after half-time and, more than two weeks on, the loss still stings. It was very tough, it has been very hard to pull ourselves back up because the days go by and you can't forget this defeat.

"I would like [Ernesto] Valverde to continue. We can not afford games like that any longer".

The five-time Ballon d'Or victor assumed the role from Andres Iniesta and is proud of the team's achievements, while acknowledging their glaring failure.

"I'm still thinking about the Liverpool loss".

Messi and Barcelona held a 3-0 lead going into the second-leg at Anfield but were humbled 4-0 to go crashing out of Europe. The fact that we have had disappointments does not change anything. In the second half we didn't compete and that's something we can not afford. We knew that we couldn't repeat what had happened last season, and yet it happened again.

Barca will also be without key players Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele and Marc-Andre ter Stegen for this game against a team that finished strongly, beating Real Valladolid 2-0 to earn a Champions League spot.

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"The sensation is unusual and that's why the team have to focus on trying to get a double. Regrettably, that game has tainted the season", said Messi, in a rare appearance at a press conference.

Messi rejected the suggestion that such a loss could persuade him to call time on his exceptional Barcelona career - likening such a reaction to the hysteria that accompanies his every setback with Argentina at worldwide level. "It happens the same with the Argentina national team", he said.

"We are all aware that this is a final, another title, and if we don't win, we will be a lot worse than we are now". It is the same with Barca.

"I have to apologise for the second half at Liverpool, not because of the result but because of the image we gave".

"Not winning this final would be much worse than we are now, we have to finish well and think about that".

Canberra Raiders will be hopeful of getting a win on the board after playing well in defeat in consecutive games against the Roosters and the Rabbitohs and will be banking on two points against the thirteenth-placed Cowboys. Apart from that game at Liverpool, we've done a really nice job. "We've had a great year if you take out that game".

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