The second legs of the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals kick off tonight and Manchester City have it all to do. The blues were beaten 3-0 at Anfield in the first leg, and failed to secure an important away goal.
Liverpool are in a fantastic position to progress, but manager Jurgen Klopp didn’t want to accept that his side are the favourites when speaking to Sky Sports:
“I am not interested (In the favourites tag). We are only in the lead, it is better than expected but you all know there is still a lot of work to do.
“We are not thinking about who is favourite.”
City had hoped to come into the second leg having secured the Premier League title over the weekend. However, bitter rivals Manchester United came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 and rain on City’s parade at the Etihad.
Psychologically, that defeat would have a negative impact on any team. Pep Guardiola was asked about the effect it would have on his squad and he said he will learn a lot about his players from their reaction.
The second leg is set up to be a classic. City have absolutely no choice but to go for it from the beginning as their hopes of qualifying will diminish as each minute passes. If City can score first, and early, it could create a feeling of panic within the Liverpool team and give the blues a sense of optimism.
The first goal in this game is going to be pivotal. If City get it, I think the momentum will be with them throughout the whole game and they will have a chance of turning around the deficit. However, if Liverpool score first the game will be over. The away goal would be huge as it would require City to score at least five goals, which is a big ask…
City did beat Liverpool 5-0 in their last meeting at the Etihad, although the scenario was a lot different. Liverpool had been reduced to 10-men when Sadio Mane was given his marching orders for a high challenge on Ederson.
I believe the hosts will win tonight and we’ll come close to seeing another dramatic turnaround at the Etihad. But, I can’t see Liverpool not scoring, and an away goal will make it a near-impossible task for City.
Prediction: Manchester City 4-1 Liverpool (Liverpool advance through away goals)