Champions League & Europa League Semi-Final 2nd Legs5 min read
Liverpool v Barcelona (0-3)
History is against Liverpool overturning their 3-0 deficit from the 1st leg in the Nou Camp.
The Reds would become just the third side in the history of the European Cup/Champions League to come from three goals down in the 1st leg of a semi-final to qualify for the final and the first since Barcelona themselves in 1986. That said Barca held a three-goal lead (4-1) against Roma in last season’s quarter-final before going out on away goals having lost the 2nd leg 3-0 in Italy. That must give Jurgen Klopp, his resilient, history-making side and all Reds supporters cause for optimism ahead of what promises to be another wonderful Anfield occasion.
I naturally hoped Mo Salah would be fit for the visit of Barcelona. The Egyptian has been outstanding in recent weeks and he gave Gerard Pique and co a torrid time in the Nou Camp despite the Reds drawing a rare blank. Had Liverpool scored in Spain I would have been optimistic of the Reds turning the tie around.
As it is I expect to see the Reds win at Anfield, but I fear a Barca goal will change the landscape of the tie and it is likely that the Reds will, at some stage, have to throw caution to the wind.
Tip: Liverpool to win and both teams to score at
Ajax v Tottenham (1-0)
Ajax have won at Real Madrid, Juventus and Spurs in the Champions League this season, but they have failed to win any of their last three home ties in the competition. There are bound to be plenty of nerves on and off the pitch in Amsterdam and I expect Spurs to give the hosts plenty of problems despite their poor recent run of results.
Spurs could, and probably should, have been out of sight by half-time at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday and it says much about the game when the Man of the Match award goes to the goalkeeper of the side who played the vast majority of the 2nd half with a two-man advantage.
I expect to see Mauricio Pochettino’s side score in Holland, but I fear it will be the hosts who qualify for the Final in Madrid at the beginning of June.
Tip: Both teams to score at
Chelsea v Eintracht Frankfurt (1-1)
Chelsea warmed up for the visit of Frankfurt with a comfortable 3-0 success over Watford on Sunday, a win that confirmed they will be playing Champions League football next term.
The Blues have never lost a home game against German opposition in European competition (D2 W7) although it is significant that Frankfurt have scored in all six of their away games in the competition so far this season. They may well find the back of the net again at the Bridge, but I feel it will be Chelsea who make the Final in Azerbaijan later in the month.
Tip: Chelsea to win and over 3.5 goals at
Valencia v Arsenal (1-3)
Arsenal have progressed from all 27 European ties in which they have held a two-goal lead from the 1st leg, but I fear for the Gunners in the Mestalla and believe that the away goal score by Valencia at the Emirates may prove crucial.
The Gunners have lost their last four away games in European competition in Spain and the hosts are a formidable outfit on home soil – although they did lose their 20-game unbeaten home record to Eibar in their last home game.
Gunners boss Unai Emery has a proud record in the competition winning his last 18 Europa League ties, but Arsenal remain vulnerable defensively and I think the hosts will do enough to reach Bacu in front of their fanatical home supporters.
Tip: Valencia to qualify at