Firmino on bench for Liverpool against Barca

View of the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on April 30, 2019 on the eve of the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg football match between Barcelona and Liverpool. (Photo by Josep LAGO / AFP)

Roberto Firmino was deemed fit enough only for the bench as Liverpool prepared to face Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday.

Firmino had trained on Tuesday morning after shaking off a muscle strain but was picked as a substitute at Camp Nou, while Joe Gomez came in at right-back to make his first start since breaking his leg in December.

For Barcelona, Philippe Coutinho was preferred to Ousmane Dembele in the front three, the Brazilian taking his place alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez against his former club.

Arturo Vidal was a surprise pick ahead of Arthur Melo in central midfield, with coach Ernesto Valverde opting for extra solidity against Liverpool’s pacey attack.

Starting line-ups for the Champions League semi-final, first leg between Barcelona and Liverpool at Camp Nou on Wednesday (kick-off 1900 GMT):

Barcelona (4-3-3)

Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet, Jordi Alba; Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal; Lionel Messi (capt), Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho

Coach: Ernesto Valverde (ESP)

Liverpool(4-3-3)

Alisson Becker; Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, Virgil Van Dijk, Andy Robertson; James Milner (capt), Fabinho, Georginio Wijnaldum; Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Naby Keita

Coach: Jurgen Klopp (GER)

Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (NED)

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