Strange to think this season has 2, maximum of three, games left. For a while there, we were all Robert Earl Keen, "The Road Goes On Forever, The Party Never Ends". This game against Barca is going to test Liverpool severely and all indications are that we will come up short. 3-0 down from the first leg, the lack of an away goal is looming larger and larger. So is the first priority to stop Barca getting one? Which would mean we'd need 5. If we manage to stop Barca, we still have to score 3 just to get to extra time. (As a sidebar, I've always thought that away goals should not count as double if scored in extra time. Liverpool had 90 minutes in Spain, Barcelona should have the same in England; extra time should be away goal neutral. But anyway...).

We are without Firmino, Salah and Keita, three players who make just about most sides in the world, so let's not kid ourselves that our bench is deep enough. It's not, no one's would be, to withstand the loss of those three.

Let's start with the defense. VVD, Matip and Robertson to start. The RB position is between Gomez and TAA. I completely understand Gomez in the first leg. With the exception of Man City in the first leg last season, TAA has too often looked vulnerable in big games. He handled Sane very well in that game, but too often he has struggled. A lot of this is down to having Salah rather than Firmino or Mane in front of him. Nevertheless, defensively, Gomez is the better option. But Gomez does not have the same elan and attacking verve that TAA has. You don't rack up 11 or 12 assists by accident. In many respects this choice will define the team's entire focus and approach. If Gomez, then it's a counter attacking game, keeping home safe; if TAA, it's heavy-metal, high-pressing, looking to overwhelm them early and often. Again, if TAA and we do manage to claw back 2 or 3, I could see Gomez replacing him late on.

Midfield is a starker choice with Keita out. Fabinho, Wijnaldum and Henderson. With Milner lurking on the bench, probably going to see some minutes.

Up front is where things should be interesting. Mane starts. Now who alongside him? Sturridge and Origi? I think not, not Sturridge anyway. I think the forgotten man, Shaqiri, sees a start here with Origi.

As to how this game will end? Well I read somewhere that some statistician had worked out a 6% chance of success for Liverpool. And this was before Firmino and Salah were ruled out. So if the same person were to recalculate, I'd imagine we'd be down to about 1-2%. But football's not played on Excel sheets.

Last season in the QFs, Barcelona hammered Roma 4-1 at the Camp Nou, setting up a mouthwatering SF with Liverpool. Except Roma destroyed Barca 3-0 in Rome, to put a stop to those plans. Essentially this is the same Barca team, so there is that. They fielded a B side in La Liga at the weekend (and lost) unlike us who have to be buoyed by the win and the manner of it against Newcastle. So there is that, too. Barca played almost the perfect game in the Camp Nou in the first leg, so you'd have to wonder if lightening strikes twice? So there's that, also.

Putting everything together, I do see a chance for Liverpool, especially if they score early and go into the break not having conceded. I don't see them scoring 4 (removing the 90 minutes option) and I don't see them scoring 5 (overcoming Barca scoring), so that leaves score 3 over 120 minutes, concede none and go to penalties. Stranger things have happened; but my head says Barca to advance.