Liverpool FC: Christmas Crack Me Up Challenge
Two Premier League clubs are already through to Friday’s open draw for the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Here are my thoughts on the outstanding second leg ties and the chances of seeing all four English clubs in the next round.
Juve have never scored against Atleti in their three previous Champions League ties (L2 D1) and I think the La Liga side will qualify for the last eight although the Spanish side have only won one of their last eight knockout games on the road in the competition.
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 22 goals in 32 career appearances against Atleti but has only scored once his six games in the competition so far this season. The Turin side need a big game from their Portuguese superstar who was rested on Friday night when Juve, who have an 18-point lead at the top of Serie A, beat Udinese 4-1.
It promises to be fast, furious and probably feisty – although Diego Costa is suspended – but I feel it will be the Spanish side who qualify for the last eight.
Game to finish in a draw at 27/10
Correct Score: 1-1 13/2
City are still chasing an unprecedented four trophies and it would be a surprise if Schalke – who lost 4-2 at Werder Bremen on Friday – were able to turn around their 3-2 deficit from the home leg.
The Bundesliga outfit have scored with their last three shots on target in the competition, but I would be surprised if they made much of an impact at the Etihad Stadium.
Schalke have lost their last three games in the Bundesliga by an aggregate score of 11-2 since the first leg and I expect City to make serene progress into the quarter-final.
City to win to nil at 5/6
Correct Score: 2-0 13/2
Barcelona have won all three home games against Lyon in the Champions League by an aggregate score of 10-2 and I can’t see past another win for the Spanish giants although their lack of an away goal is a slight concern.
Lyon have drawn their last six games in the competition, but I expect Barca to make it through to the last eight for an extraordinary 12th year on the run – a magnificent achievement.
Lyon have lost their last four away games without scoring a goal in the knockout stages of the competition and I feel the hosts will be comfortable winners at the Camp Nou.
Barcelona to win 2-0 at 13/2
Only 10 of the 31 sides who have drawn 0-0 at home in the first leg of a Champions League knockout tie have progressed to the next round. The stats suggest it is advantage Bayern, but I’m not so sure.
The Reds were not at their brilliant best against Burnley on Sunday, but they got the job done and they will be confident of scoring against Bayern who moved to the top of the Bundesliga table at the weekend – albeit on goal difference from Borussia Dortmund.
Dortmund were no match for Spurs over two legs and Schalke are not in the same class as City. I expect the Reds to make it Bundesliga 0 Premier League 3, but it might just be the Bavarians lack of an away goal that comes back to haunt them in Munich.
Liverpool to qualify at 10/11
Correct Score: 1-1 13/2