FA Cup Semi-Finals & Premier League Matchday 31: Pochettino’s Men can Make History
We have reached the last eight in the Champions League and the highlight is the all-Premier League clash between Liverpool and Manchester City with the first leg at Anfield on Wednesday.
I don’t see how the game can fail to live up to the neutral’s expectations, as was the case with the Reds’ rip-roaring 4-3 victory over Guardiola’s men in the most recent Premier League meeting between the two sides.
This is the 20th time these two great Clubs have met in the European Cup/Champions League and history shows there is very little between them with nine wins for Real Madrid, eight for Juve and two draws.
This is of course a repeat of last season’s final in Cardiff which my old club won 4-1 but Juve are unbeaten in their last 27 games at home in European competition and have won six and drawn the other tie in their seven previous home games with the Whites.
Zidane has called up the whole team for the match against Juventus tomorrow. 💪🏼 pic.twitter.com/FQtB5PFIlO
— SB (@Realmadridplace) April 2, 2018
Spurs came close to ending the Old Lady of Italian football’s proud European home record in the last round, however, and I feel the La Liga side will get a draw – and a vital away goal – to take back to the Bernabeu.
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored in every game he has played against Juventus – seven goals in five games – including two in last season’s final. This is the Whites only chance of silverware this season but I think they can get a draw in what promises to be a wonderful occasion with Zinedine Zidane returning to Turin for the first time as a coach.
Zidane won two Italian titles and a Ballon d’Or at Juventus and said in the build up to the game he has said, “I became a man in Turin. I will always be Juventino.”
It is sure to be an emotional return to Turin for my former teammate.
Tip: Game to finish in a draw at 9/4
Sevilla threw away a two-goal lead at home to Barcelona in La Liga at the weekend and I cannot see past a win for the Bundesliga side, despite the fact that Bayern have been knocked out of the competition by Spanish sides in each of the last four seasons.
I do think Manchester United missed a trick not going all out for a goal in the away leg of their last 16 tie with the La Liga outfit, but don’t expect Bayern to make the same mistake.
The clubs have never met in European competition and this is Sevilla’s first appearance in the last eight of the Champions League.
It promises to be a hugely entertaining clash with the Bavarians just having the edge.
Tip: Bayern to win and both teams to score at 21/10
Roma have never made it beyond the quarterfinal stage of the Champions League and I expect Barcelona to take a lead back to the Italian capital next week.
Roma have a raft of injury concerns ahead of the game in the Nou Camp while Barca were able to rest Lionel Messi for over an hour against Sevilla at the weekend before he almost single-handedly snatched a point for the champions-elect.
Barcelona are unbeaten in their last nine Champions League ties and have conceded only two goals in those games. Roma have only won one of their last 13 Champions League games on the road and I cannot see past a comfortable home win.
Tip: Barcelona to win to nil at 21/20
The 179th meeting between Liverpool and Manchester City but the first in European competition and what a wonderful occasion it promises to be.
Liverpool are unbeaten in their 10 previous Champions League games this season and I expect them to take a slender lead back to the Etihad next Tuesday. One thing is for sure City will have a harder game at Anfield than they had on their last visit to Merseyside given Everton’s pale and limp performance at Goodison on Saturday.
Mohamed Salah since he's joined Liverpool:
⚽️ Goals: 37
🎯 Assists: 10 pic.twitter.com/OaBJOT2Zob
— PurelyFootball UK (@PurelyFootball) April 2, 2018
Most people expect a game full of goals and opportunities at both ends especially when you consider the two league games between the sides this season have produced 12 goals. I wonder, however, if you gave Jürgen Klopp a 0-0 draw whether he would take it.
There is too much quality and flair on show for the game to be a tactical stalemate and I expect Liverpool – roared on by the crowd – to take a lead to the Etihad but for city to have scored what might prove to be an all-important away goal.
Tip: Liverpool to win and both teams to score at 15/4 15/4
Bayern, Barcelona and Liverpool at 5/1 5/1
My#PriceItUp market for Liverpool v Manchester City: