England has two teams – Manchester City and Liverpool – in the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since 2014. Spain has three teams – Real Madrid, Barcelona and Sevilla, while Italy has two teams i the quarter-finals – Juventus and Roma.
However, there will be just one English team in the semi-finals as Liverpool and Manchester City play against each other quarter-finals.
Liverpool vs Manchester City
Liverpool and City have been the last two teams left in the urn, so there wasn’t a surprise there will be an English battle after the other quarter-finals pairs have been drafted. It is a bit unfortunate for the Premier League as both the SkyBlues and the Reds are informal and could have reached the semi-finals of the tournament, no matter who would be their opponent.
Speaking for LiverpoolFC.com website Jurgen Klopp said that he doesn’t mind to play against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. “I’ve said it before and it’s still the truth, it’s always common in a draw that you’ll get your neighbour, more or less, but to be honest I don’t mind, really”. The German also said Liverpool is not the opponent that Man City would be happy to get at this stage of the tournament.
“It is exactly like it was before – we take what we’ve got. Now it’s Manchester City, let’s go. We’ve lost once and we’ve won once against them in the league – and I don’t think they thought before the best draw they could have got is Liverpool. That’s a sign for us and how strong we can be.”
He has also said the Liverpool “are not the favourites in this round” and added that “in the last eight there are not a lot of favourites – maybe two of them, Bayern and Barcelona”. Klopp added:
“It is like it should be in the last eight. It was clear we would face a strong team. Now we have Man City. The good thing is they are the team we know most about. It’s not too cool for England because now only one team can go to the semis. But we will try everything.”
Liverpool are probably the only team in the Premier League who can win against City i na single game and the Reds did it at Anfield. However, the Pep Guardiola team have a better composure and at least in theory the Manchester team has better chances to progress to the Champions League semi-finals. As the winner will be decided in a two-leg clash, with the second game played at Etihad, Manchester City have certain advantage, as they have a more depth and quality in their squad.
On the other hand, Champions League could be considered as “the Liverpool’s tournament” as Reds are most successfull English club in this European competition. In a post-match interview at Wembley when Juventus won against Tottenham, the Italian central defender Giorgio Chiellini has said that history matter in football. So, if Jurgen Klopp has all his players available for the games against Manchester City, Liverpool have a good chance to qualify for the Champions League’s semi-finals.
Barcelona vs Roma
Roma were lucky to qualify for the quarter-finals and now they face a very good team of Barcelona who are motivated to win both the domestic La Liga and the Champions League. Roma are definitely the underdogs in the two-leg class, but it would not be smart to write them off.
Still, Barcelona look to be too good for the Romans and as of now it looks like they will go to the semi-finals.
Sevilla FC vs Bayern Munich
Sevilla look weaker now than they were in any the previous seasons when they won the UEFA Europa League, so Bayern are probably happy to have them in the quarter-finals. The Spaniards were a bit lucky against Manchester United as the Red Devils have’t scored first at Old Trafford.
Wissam Ben Yedder could not save Sevilla in each and every game, no matter if the come from the bench or plays as a first choice striker. The German Champions are very strong both flanks and with Robert Lewandowski as number 9, they would be much harder to stop for the Andalusian side than Manchester United were. I don’t think that Sevilla would be able to qualify against the Bavarians, who have a team good enough to go all the way to the finals. So, Bayern looks like an easy choice for a winner this clash.
Juventus vs Real Madrid
This is going to be an epic clash where two teams with completely different footling philosophy play against each other. Juventus were very close to be kicked out of the quarter-finals by Tottenham Hotspur, but the experience and the class of the Italians, helped them to go pass Spurs. Now Juve need to defend even better against Real Madrid, who will be desperate to go all the way to the tournament final in Kiev, as they have no chance to win La Liga.
There’s one thing for certain. Juventus are a very tactical side and Real should not be very happy with the draw. Tottenham play similar offensive football as Los Blancos do and all the Torino-based football giants should do is to restrict Cristiano Ronaldo’s chances. Of course Real Madrid is much more than Ronaldo, but at this stage of the Champions League, every team needs their start players to be at their best.
I fancy Juventus to quality, despite that Real Madrid are considered as the most likely winner in this quarter-final.