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“Try to knock them out”- James Milner recalls Lionel Messi encounter at Liverpool after Argentina’s World Cup win

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Liverpool vice-captain James Milner talks about going up against Lionel Messi at Camp Nou in 2019

The match-up in Barcelona between the Catalans and Liverpool will for one be remembered for that astonishing Lionel Messi free-kick. Heading into the second leg of that particular fixture, Liverpool were in dire straits for a win and a big one. 3-0 down on aggregate, the Reds needed at least four goals to go through.

What followed was a totally special performance from the Reds, especially Gini Wijnaldum who scored two goals in absolutely no time after Divock Origi opened the scoring for the Reds. Origi then scored the fourth from a quick Trent Alexander-Arnold freekick to take Liverpool to the finals of the UEFA Champions League in 2019.

James Milner had an altercation with the Argentine in the first leg and speaking in an interview for Amazon Prime with former Manchester United goalie Ben Foster, Milly recalled going up against Messi in the first leg and a particular incident with the recent World Cup winner.

Liverpool vice-captain James Milner talks about going up against Lionel Messi at Camp Nou in 2019.
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona against Liverpool in the UCL Semi-Finals of 2019. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)(Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

Here is what Milly told Foster via Amazon Prime (h/t Liverpool Echo):

“He’s incredible, for me the best ever,”

“But if you let players like that have their own way and give them too much respect then they’re going to run the game. Sometimes you have to let them know you’re there and try to knock them out of their stride.”

Obviously, when coming up against someone like Messi, who is arguably the best footballer in the world, one would not want to hand it to him on a plate for him to score against your team and run riot.

Milner against Messi

Milner did all but failed in his attempt to keep Messi on the low as the current PSG forward scored twice within ten minutes for Barca to give his team the advantage going into the second leg.

Liverpool vice-captain James Milner talks about going up against Lionel Messi at Camp Nou in 2019.
James Milner and Lionel Messi. (Photo credit should read LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images)

However, coming back to the present day, Messi has for sure established himself as the greatest footballer of all time after guiding Argentina to their second World Cup title. There is nothing left for the man to achieve, and alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, they will serve as role models for generations to come.

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Milly still has an opportunity to face Messi at the club level in case Liverpool draw Paris Saint-Germain in the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League. We only hope that the result is like the second leg of the 2019 Semi-Final and as far away as possible from the first leg.