Barcelona, May 2: Ernesto Valverde warned his Barcelona players against complacency after their 3-0 Champions League semi-final first leg victory over Liverpool, reminding them they led Roma by a three-goal margin before making a calamitous exit just over a year ago.
The Blaugrauna beat Roma 4-1 at Camp Nou in the first leg of last season's quarter-final but lost 3-0 at the Stadio Olimpico as Eusebio Di Francesco's men pulled off a dramatic turnaround, and Valverde is wary of history to repeating itself.
Luis Suarez scored against his old club to open the scoring before Lionel Messi's second-half brace left Liverpool with a mammoth task if they are to turn the tie around at Anfield next Tuesday (May 7).
Valverde picked out Marc-Andre ter Stegen's save from James Milner's second-half effort and Mohamed Salah's shot against the post as key moments of the game.
"They have had very clear opportunities," Valverde told Movistar+. "The shot against the post and the stop by Marc.
"It was a match in which they took control of the game at times and it cost us, but we were victorious against a very strong team.
"But this is similar to last year, when we were also three goals ahead against Roma."
Machine wash warm. Tumble dry low. pic.twitter.com/R7TQ1pl9jw— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) May 1, 2019
Messi's second of the night was his 600th for Barcelona - a spectacular 30-yard free-kick into the top corner that left Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson with no chance.
Valverde said the five-time Ballon d'Or winner still had the ability to surprise his team-mates.
"We know what Leo is, but he does not stop surprising us," he added.
"He has pushed us to the brink but we still have to play the second leg."