Championship Play-Off Final: Michael Owen’s View
Liverpool and Manchester City face Bundesliga opposition in their last 16 Champions League 1st leg ties with the feature tie the visit of Bayern Munich to Anfield.
Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 19 home European ties and they meet a Bayern Munich side who have never scored a goal in their three previous visits to Anfield.
The Reds must do without the suspended Virgil van Dijk, but they have had 10 days to prepare without their defensive lynchpin for the visit of the Bavarians and I would be surprised if they didn’t take a lead back to Germany next month.
Bayern had a poor start to their Bundesliga campaign but have won nine out of their last ten league games. They continue to offer up opportunities, however, and were, arguably, fortunate to top their group with Ajax the better side in the two drawn meetings between the sides in the Group stages.
— BetVictor (@BetVictor) February 18, 2019
Jurgen Klopp will know all about Bayern of course and I feel he will improve on his current record of nine wins from 29 previous games (L16 D4) against Munich. Bayern may well score at Anfield, but I feel Liverpool will take at least a two-goal lead into the second leg.
Tip: Liverpool to win at 21/20
Barcelona were singularly unimpressive in beating Real Valladolid at the Nou Camp on Saturday and I am not convinced they are playing as well as their seven-point lead at the top of La Liga would suggest.
Both Lyon and Barcelona were unbeaten in the Group stages although the French side have drawn their last five Champions League games and conceded 11 times in their six ties.
Lionel Messi has scored 90 times in his last 90 Champions League games and the Argentinean magician might again be the difference.
Atletico Madrid are unbeaten in their last 12 home Champions League knock-out ties and have only conceded once in the last ten. Juventus, however, have a proud recent away record winning four of their last five knockout ties on the road (D1) and this promises to be a tight, close affair with goals at a premium.
Atléti would love to keep a clean sheet whilst Juve would love to take an away goal back to Turin. I think the hosts will edge it.
Tip: Atlético to win and under 2.5 goals at 18/5
Schalke are unbeaten in their last nine home European games, but they have been knocked out at this stage of the Champions League on their last three appearances in the competition and I can’t see past a City win.
The Bundesliga outfit only scored six times in the Group stages, although they did keep four clean sheets, but they will do well to keep this rampant City side at arm’s length.
Tip: City to win and both teams to score at 9/5
Midweek Champions League treble: Liverpool, Barca and City at 4/1