Virgil Van Dijk stood in a subterranean curving tunnel leading from the street to the pitch at the Nou Camp, although at that moment it may have felt like one of the nine circles of Hell.
Van Dijk insisted there was still hope and not just because Roma pulled off a sensational 3-0 second leg victory over Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals last season to overturn a 4-1 mauling in the first leg. Trailing 3-0 can do wonderful things to Liverpool teams and there is belief among Jurgen Klopp’s team that all is not yet lost.
‘We can take things to Anfield and give it our best shot,’ Van Dijk said. ‘We tired them with our energy here and we will do that again. We have our fans as well. We have home advantage so we have to use that.
‘We have to be aware of them on the break as well because we were a bit lucky to not concede another one in the end tonight. We should have done better with defending the goals and we should have scored but it’s 3-0 and we have to deal with it.
‘But of course we can do it. It’s always going to be strange for them to come to us with a lead like that, thinking how they are going to approach us.
‘We were in a situation last year when we won comfortably against Porto away and it’s a strange mindset when you start the return game. We need to believe and we believe anyway so we will see how it goes.’
When Messi and his team-mates run out before kick off on Tuesday, the noise will be deafening and Liverpool will attempt to draw on their rich European heritage and the memories of that miracle in Istanbul when they fought back from a 3-0 deficit to AC Milan in the 2005 Champions League final to get off to the kind of start that might unnerve Barcelona.
If that happens, if Liverpool score early, maybe Barcelona’s demons and the memories of what happened in Rome will start to crowd in. If Barcelona score though, if Messi works his magic just once, then the tie will be over.
‘Messi’s a fantastic player,’ Van Dijk said. ‘That’s pretty obvious. The difficult part against him is that when we are attacking, he is basically chilling somewhere in the corner. You need to be so aware with defensive organisation. When we lose easy balls, they try to find him and make it difficult for us on the break.
‘I know that 3-0 has a ring for Liverpool fans but I think the most important thing is that we have to believe. We had two big chances to score here and we didn’t take them. It’s going to be difficult for them at Anfield. We need a bit of luck. We need to stop them from scoring. We have to believe. I will definitely believe because I never give up anyway.’
The rest of his team must follow suit. If they start at Anfield as they started at the Nou Camp, then a victory that would take its place in the pantheon of great European nights in Liverpool is still possible.