|Attempts on target||4||5|
|Attempts off target||6||7|
FC Barcelona got their UEFA Champions League second group stage campaign off to a flying start when they came from behind to beat Liverpool FC 3-1 at Anfield stadium on Tuesday evening. Goals from Patrick Kluivert, Fabio Rochemback and Marc Overmars claimed a valuable three points from what proved to be a thrilling Group B encounter.
Liverpool had the first chance of the match inside the first five minutes, but Emile Heskey scuffed his shot after collecting Danny Murphy's teasing cross. Barcelona had their opening opportunity just a minute later when John Arne Riise fouled Luis Enrique giving them a free-kick in a dangerous position. Rivaldo stepped up but Jerzy Dudek in the Liverpool goal was on hand to gather his 25-metre effort.
Heskey went close again before the visitors were forced into making an early substitution. Captain Luis Enrique was withdrawn after injuring his left hamstring, allowing Overmars the chance to show his talents on the left flank.
Owen on target
With Barcelona still adjusting to the change in personnel, Liverpool took the lead when Michael Owen raced on to Vladimír Šmicer's clever pass and lifted the ball over the advancing Roberto Bonano. Emile Heskey almost doubled his side's advantage in the 41st minute, but a vital goalline clearance by Philip Cocu spared Barcelona's blushes.
The Spanish side hit back immediately, racing to the other end of the field where Kluivert smashed in an equaliser after a neat passing move involving Overmars and Rivaldo. The Dutch striker latched onto Rivaldo's clever chip and volleyed past a helpless Dudek.
Barcelona stepped their performance up a gear in the second period, with the arrival of Brazilian Rochemback on 58 minutes. Owen missed a glorious chance to give Liverpool the lead but he stabbed his two-metre shot wide with the goal at his mercy. That proved to be the turning point of the match, as Rochenback put Barcelona are in front with a sublime 20-metre curling shot. Kluivert and Rivaldo were the architects, the latter laying the ball off for the substitute to steer home with unerring accuracy.
Despite the arrival of strikers Robbie Fowler and, former Barcelona man, Jari Litmanen, Liverpool were limited to a handful of long-range shots and half chances for the remainder of the game. Overmars used his electric pace to beat the offside trap for his side's third goal, rounding Dudek with ease before sliding the ball home after 84 minutes.
Top of Group B
Having started the game in such confident fashion, Liverpool will be disappointed that they allowed their opponents back into the game. But Barcelona have now stated their case for Champions League success in no uncertain terms and now sit proudly at the top of Group B.
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