According to the latest reports, former Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has stated that Liverpool have a great chance of making it to the finals of the Champions League for a second season in a row ahead of their clash against La Liga giants Barcelona. However, 56-year-old has insisted that Barcelona have one player that can turn any game in their favour and he is an Argentine superstar and Barcelona captain Lionel Messi.

Liverpool endured heartbreak in last season’s Champions League final as Real Madrid ran out 3-1 winners to claim their 13th title in the rich history of the club. However, Liverpool are keen to make amends for the elite tournament this season but they face another Spanish giant in the form of Barcelona in a crunch semi-final tie over two legs. The Reds are slowly but surely finding their rhythm and making it past tricky situations as they overcame Bayern Munich in the Round of 16 and flattened FC Porto in the quarterfinals of the tournament. Liverpool were eventually struggling to get out of their Group but the last day win over Napoli dumped the Italians out and sent Liverpool into the next round.

Now, Liverpool face arguably their most difficult test ever as they have to keep in check on Barcelona. The Catalonians are sitting at the summit of the La Liga table and look destined to win another Spanish League title. Barcelona have also made it to the finals of the Copa Del Rey and are hungry for a treble. Watching Real Madrid win the prestigious Champions League trophy on three occasions has got Barcelona in the mood for revenge and Lionel Messi is at the heart of everything for them.

Manchester United sacked Jose Mourinho in December and the Portuguese manager is now working as a pundit. The ‘Special One’ has now given his verdict on the mouthwatering semifinal clash of Barcelona against Liverpool. Speaking to Russia Today, Mourinho said that the English side have a great chance of making it through to the final but have to keep Lionel Messi in check, “The reality is that Liverpool last season played the final, and this season they are in the semi-finals with, in my opinion, a 50% chance of being in the final I think they are better [than last season]. I would say Barca without Messi, Liverpool is favorites. But Barca with Messi… Messi is Messi.”

He further explained, ‘I think if Barcelona plays in Liverpool, second leg, the same way they played the first leg at Old Trafford, they will be in trouble.   I think in the first match, Barcelona will obviously go and try to be in front. But, as we were saying before, Mane, Salah, Firmino – not so direct but the way he links the play – they are very dangerous, they can also hurt Barcelona. I imagine that Barcelona’s motivation cannot be higher. The previous final was played in Madrid, where they lost the semi-final. This is the next final in Madrid, it is not in the Santiago Bernabeu but it’s in Madrid, which for them, socially as a club, means something. ‘We know that man [Messi] can change things as he did against United, he got that space, he got that dribble, he got that shot, 1-0, goodbye the game is in our hands. I would say they are a bit – a bit – more favorites than Liverpool, but I think it’s 50/50. Liverpool as a team, Salah, Mane, can also hurt people.’