A petition to ban Lionel Messi for allegedly ‘punching’ Fabinho during Liverpool’s 3-0 Champions League defeat by Barcelona has passed 5,000 signatures.

A Liverpool fan has launched an online petition to have Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi banned for next week’s Champions League semi-final second leg – claiming match officials did not punish him for “clearly punching Fabinho in the head”.

The 31-year-old starred with two goals during Wednesday’s 3-0 first leg win at Camp Nou, including a 30-yard free-kick to bring up his landmark 600th goal for Barca.

Messi won the set-piece himself after being blocked off the ball by Fabinho, but replays showed the forward catching the Brazil midfielder with a flailing arm as they came together.

In an almost certainly vain attempt to get Messi suspended for the return leg at Anfield next Tuesday, Reds supporter Callum Brydges has set up a petition on Change.org that has ticked past 6,000 signatures.

“So basically Messi gets a free-kick for punching Fabinho in the head and scores it. I feel like this needs to be looked at by UEFA,” the petition reads.

Liverpool fans started a similar poll last year that called for Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos to be handed a retrospective ban following his challenge on Mohamed Salah in the Champions League final, which left the Egypt forward with a dislocated shoulder.

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