Liverpool 1 - Barcelona 3
Carragher, Henchoz, Hyppia, Riise; McAllister (Berger 69'), Gerrard, Smicer
(Litmanen 80'), Murphy; Heskey (Fowler 66'), Owen. 4-4-2.
Barcelona started the second phase of the Champions League with a 1-3 victory at Liverpool, probably their best performance of the season to date. Rivaldo returned to the Barcelona side after playing for Brazil, which meant there was no place in the starting line up for Saviola. Puyol was suspended, and Rexach played Christanval at right back rather than Reiziger, with Luis Enrique playing further forward than normal. The Spanish international had to leave the field of play though with a recurrence of his hamstring injury with just over a quarter of an hour gone, and Overmars came on in his place. Curiously a minute later one of the linesmen did the same and the fourth referee took over on the touchline.
Liverpool started the stronger of the two, with Heskey failing to connect cleanly with Smicer's cross in the opening minutes. The pressure told, and the English side took the lead through Michael Owen on the half hour mark, racing between De Boer and Andersson to lift the ball over the advancing Bonano and in to the net. Barça were level before half time though as Kluivert hit a first time volley from the edge of the area with the Liverpool defenders claiming offside, and before the whistle blew Overmars had tested Dudek again with a shot which the keeper tipped away for a corner.
By now the Spanish side were controlling the game, with first time passes to keep possession as they built up their attacks slowly. They were nearly caught sleeping though when Owen nipped in between Bonano and De Boer, but for once his effort was off target. It was a major let off, and five minutes later the visitors were in front, substitute Rochemback catching Dudek unawares with a shot from the edge of the area. Barcelona's best moments came after that, with Liverpool chasing the ball as the Spaniards sprayed it around, and five minutes from time a move involving over 25 passes ended with Xavi playing a long ball to Overmars, who only had to round the keeper to score.