The Truth Behind "That" Barcelona Liverpool Game
It has almost been a week since we all were amazed by the incredible display Liverpool and Tottenham put in this year's Champions League final at Wanda in Madrid (Not really, it was boring as f***). In case you live under a rock and didn't know, Liverpool was the winner this time out, beating Spurs by 2-0 (Hooray! Congratulations... and all that stuff).
That doesn't matter now as the truth of one of the greatest conspiracies has been revealed: What was the reason behind loosing to Liverpool at Anfield? (They were just bad, deal with it). Unfortunately, Barcelona fans and press have found another reason behind Liverpool's epic comeback (by basically saying Liverpool is not good and they just won by pure luck. Haters gonna hate, hate, hate!).
Anyway, since that fateful 4-0, many have tried to give reasons that make some sense of what happened at Anfield that day (they don't), from the simplest ones to the most inexplicable (An UEFO was obstructing Ter Stegen's vision and trajectory to stop Divock Origi's goal, dah). With this result, Ernesto Valverde saw for the second year in a row how another team dismantled his side in humiliating fashion.
Now that the story has been told, it's time for the "juicy" stuff: Which is this magic statistic that explains Barcelona's KO against Liverpool?
Beyond the coach's decisions and the attitude of the players (which are clearly the real reasons they lost. Why does no one else see it?), according to many, the real reason Barcelona lost the semifinal is that the Catalan side's starting XI at Anfield was much older on average than the Reds.
Obviously, a reason comes with facts (if not it wouldn't be good enough to make Barcelona fans happy of their team's loss). According to this reason, Liverpool's starting XI was almost three years younger than FC Barcelona's.
The average age of the starting men for the Reds in the European semifinal round was 26.2 years old, while the men from Barcelona were around 29,09. The starters for the English club were Alisson (26), Alexander-Arnold (20), Matip (27), Van Dijk (27), Robertson (25), Henderson (28), Fabinho (25), Milner ( 33), Mané (27), Origi (24) and Shaqiri (27). Only one player exceeded 30 years of age , the rest did not even go over 28.
On behalf of FC Barcelona, Ernesto Valverde lined up Ter Stegen (27), Sergi Roberto (27), Piqué (32), Lenglet (23), Jordi Alba (30), Busquets (30), Arturo Vidal (31), Rakitic (31), Leo Messi (31), Luis Suárez (32) and Coutinho (26). Seven players reach or exceed 30.
This data shows the ageing squad FC Barcelona have at the moment, where there's clearly quality and experience, but they don't bet on giving chances to young players anymore (and they have a bunch. Ernesto was probably thinking: Who should I play, Dembélé or Coutinho? A bench warmer or a piece of wood. I'll go for the piece of wood. Go, go, go!). However, age doesn't matter. Barcelona have to improve in every aspect as a team if they want to have a successful year next season and get back to winning UCLs. So stop the bullsh***** and start getting some action done. De Ligt, Griezmann, Neymar...
Start signing! Quick, quick, quick!