For Liverpool, a team that faces Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final on Wednesday, minimizing the damage caused by the great Lionel Messi could be key to their chances of reaching a second consecutive final.
The Argentine icon has scored 46 goals in 45 appearances at Barcelona this term, as well as 22 badists.
He threw home the only goal of the match against Levante on Saturday, as Barça won their eighth league title in 11 years.
Meanwhile, in the quarterfinals of the Champions League with Manchester United, two initial goals by Messi at the Nou Camp effectively decided the draw.
Such feats have become a routine for Messi, who, along with Cristiano Ronaldo in recent years, has scored goals at a pace that has rarely been seen before.
The former Manchester United boss, David Moyes, says Messi is the best player he has ever played, only that he has also played the outstanding Ronaldo.
If Liverpool must stop Messi, he will have to have a team instead of an individual plan for him, suggests Moyes, who has trained in La Liga with Real Sociedad.
"It's about getting players around Messi and as many as you can often," says the Scot.
But if it is not done with caution, he points out, that may leave space elsewhere for the other attacking players of Barça.
"If there is a bit of accumulation on the left, you will probably find someone coming from the right at the end," continues Moyes.
"You have to make sure you fill the field very well and that you are not leaving spaces," he adds.
Luis Suárez, Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele, Ivan Rakitic and Jordi Alba are just some of those who, beyond Messi, can offer an attack threat for the Catalan club.
& # 39; Messi is getting better & # 39;
Moyes has managed in the Premier League with Everton, Manchester United, Sunderland and West Ham United, as well as in La Liga with the Society.
In one of his first games as manager of the Society, Moyes managed to close a side of Barcelona that saw Messi appear from the bench at halftime.
Liverpool would probably settle for such a result on Wednesday.
While the Anfield club has enthused the fans with their attacking game in recent years, it has sharpened defensively this season.
No team has conceded less goals than Liverpool in the English Premier League in 2018/19, with central defender Virgil van Dijk recently chosen as the player of the season in England by his professional teammates.
Moyes describes Van Dijk as a "higher central half" who will be a "pillar" in Liverpool for the next six to seven years.
Van Dijk played for Celtic for three years before moving to Southampton in 2015. Liverpool paid £ 75 million ($ 97 million) for him early last year, a record transfer fee for a defender.
Eyebrows rose in the size of the rate. But Moyes says he's starting to look like an intelligent business, given the performance of the Dutch and the fact that central, top-level and trusted advocates are increasingly difficult to find.
"If you return it to Southampton and say you could get it for £ 75 million, all the clubs in the world would chase it," says Moyes.
Van Dijk, in front of Messi, has an air of irresistible force when encountering the immovable object.
Although the 27-year-old Dutchman faced Barcelona before, twice with Celtic in 2013, Messi missed both games with an injury.
Messi is also now older than 31, but Moyes believes it has improved with age, a scary thought for any defender.
"I saw it live when Barcelona played in Lyon (in the Champions League last 16) and I thought it had improved," says Moyes.
"I expected him not to be Messi himself, but in reality I saw the opposite, he was more involved in the team's pattern, how he played."
In addition to falling deeper to start the moves, Messi "must have had 15 or 16 dribbles and he was dazzling with the ball," adds Moyes.
Van Dijk and Liverpool will probably be well versed and prepared for these intricate games and games on Wednesday at the Camp Nou.
However, if they can do something to stop it, it is another matter.