Messi: Players to blame for Liverpool failure

Lionel Messi has defended Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde for the defeat against Liverpool, saying he and his team-mates deserve most of the blame.

Barcelona famously squandered a 3-0 first leg advantage at Anfield, falling 4-0 to the Reds in the return match of their Champions League semi-final.

The result has put Valverde under pressure from fans and media, despite the coach having the potential to secure a second straight domestic double with victory in the Copa del Rey final over Valencia on Saturday.

But Messi believes that criticism is misplaced, and thinks the players are deserving of most of the blame for the defeat at Anfield.

“I think the coach has done an impressive job,” Messi told reporters. “I think in that elimination against Liverpool, he is practically blameless. We are the only ones to blame for that match.

“It was unfortunate the match we played, the image we left behind. That happened two years in a row, that we missed out on the Champions League final. The truth is what happened cannot be allowed. We were playing a final.

“He will be as guilty as everyone else in the locker room but the ones who [are most guilty] are us.”

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