There’s no escaping the fact that Barcelona’s defeat to Liverpool was one of their worst in recent memory.
Catalan media are even calling it their worst ever.
For the second season in a row in the Champions League the Blaugrana allowed a three-goal lead to slip, and for a club of such stature that isn’t acceptable.
However, they are on the verge of doing the ‘double double,’ which is an achievement which shouldn’t be overlooked.Ernesto Valverde may well pay for Barca’s inability in Europe with his job, but with defeats in La Liga over two seasons counted on the fingers of one hand, and the club 90 minutes away from a fifth successive Copa Del Rey final win, it’s hard to argue that his tenure hasn’t been a success.
Furthermore, he is well liked and respected in the dressing room, and there’s no guarantee that any new incumbent will be able to recreate the atmosphere of the last couple of seasons within the four walls.
There are suggestions that this is a watershed moment for Barcelona for a variety of reasons and that, perhaps, a number of senior players need to be moved on in order for Barca to grow.
To regain their identity, and go back to basics.
Such is the immediacy in football nowadays that the realisation of having to go a few seasons without trophies isn’t a palatable thought at all.
Valverde’s ‘safety first’ style has never sat well with a section of the fan base, but the fact remains that in over 100 games as coach of the club, his losses only just reach into double figures.
Before the Liverpool debacle and the loss the previous weekend with a completely changed XI, Barca had been unbeaten since mid-January.
Those two cup losses were turned around in the second legs, so you have to go back to a 4-3 reverse against Real Betis in November as Barca’s last meaningful loss.
If a league title is supposedly the one that everyone wants to win because it shows which team has been the best and most consistent over an entire campaign, then Valverde can have done no more.
Though the need to win a Champions League is obvious, it’s ridiculous to think that two doubles in two seasons equals disappointment, and the notion that the coach hasn’t met expectations.
Has the bar really been set that high now?!