UEFA Champions League preview: Liverpool v Manchester City – Anfield – April 4 – Round of 8 – 1st leg clash
Well, it’s not a Premier league clash for a change. The English clubs are among the just two left out of the five that had taken part in the UEFA Champions League this season. Unfortunately, there will be just one left after these two play 2 legs in titanic Round of 8 clashes, one at Anfield and the other at the Etihad stadium in April.
While on the domestic front, Manchester City have established themselves as clear leaders of the Premier League, 18 points clear of 3rd placed Liverpool, both teams have been on a scoring spree in their recent outings getting 15 goals apiece from their last 6 Premier league outings. In their European outings, both Manchester City and Liverpool were impressive in their Round of 16 games, winning away matches against Basel and Maribor 0-4 and 0-5 respectively, although the performances at home in the 2nd legs were a bit of dampeners after the blazing show on the road. City were stunned by a defiant Basel at the Etihad 1-2 while Liverpool had to eat humble pie against Maribor with a 0-0 draw at Anfield.
The City-Liverpool UEFA clash is expected to be an attack-oriented fare, both sides being replete with scorers. Mo Salah leads the way with 37 goals from 43 games in all forms of competition this season. The mercurial Egyptian has brilliant support upfront from Roberto Firmino (23 goals) and Sadio Mane (14 goals).
For City, as many as 50 of the over 100 goals scored this season have come from the boots of Sergio Aguero (30) and Raheem Sterling (20). But threats to the Liverpool goal will also come the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane, not to speak of the incredible playmaking skills of Kevin De Bruyne (who’s slowly establishing himself as the side’s best player). The Liverpool back-line that has conceded 14 more goals than City in the Premier League has solidified after the advent of Virgil van Dijk mid-way in the season from Southampton.
Both Liverpool and Manchester City topped their respective groups in the preliminary rounds of the UEFA Champions League, with the Reds getting as many as 23 goals from their 6 games and City 14 from equal number of matches. Both teams are meeting for the first time in an European stage. Liverpool has won the prestigious UEFA Champions League just once, that too way back in 2005, but have bagged as many as 11 European titles since 1972 spread over UEFA Cups, European Super Cups and European Cups while City have nothing to show on this score.
City though are now a much powerful side and have the Champions League in their sights. Liverpool, despite their impressive history in European outings could find their first entry into the semi-finals since 2005 a much tougher proposition. Which is why bookmakers are wagering on a City win at Anfield on the evening of April 4th.
BTTS: Best odds 1.57
Please Gamble Responsibly 18+ Odds correct at 16:50 22nd March and Subject to Change