This week sees the return of Europe’s flagship football competition: the UEFA Champions League.
Four Premier League teams remain at this year’s quarter-final stages, and two will face off against each other tomorrow night as Man City and Tottenham look to book a spot in the last, as only three of the UK’s finest may progress to the next round.
Our football expert has previewed the best odds.
Tottenham v Manchester City
The tie that whets the appetite of any neutral supporter and strikes fear into the hearts of any Spurs supporter. It will be the first European fixture to be played under the bright lights of Tottenham’s new 62,000-seater stadium, and it may be their most important one in decades.
A tentative but, in the end, comfortable win for Tottenham in their curtain raiser against Crystal Palace will have settled the nerves somewhat, but Manchester City pose a whole different calibre of test when they visit tomorrow.
Pep Guardiola hasn’t won the Champions League since his days as Barcelona coach and he’ll be desperate to leave north London with a second-leg advantage, with his ruthless City contingent more than pleased to spoil the Spurs party.
What will be interesting to see is whether this supposed uber-modern state of the art facility Tottenham have built can provide that extra edge in these season defining matches. A 17,500 strong South Stand emulates the anarchy of Dortmund’s ‘Yellow Wall’, but we’re yet to see whether it’s size and stature can transcend to the players and influence a big occasion.
Questions will be asked of both sides on Tuesday. Manchester City found themselves 3-0 down after 30 minutes when they last travelled to a fellow Premier League side’s back garden in a Champions League knock-out tie – in fact, it was at this same stage just one year ago against Liverpool.
City have a chance to right that wrong in this fixture. Tottenham have an opportunity to make the most impressive marks on history in their first season at the new home, and it starts by stopping arguably the most impressive outfit in world football.
Despite the lingering thought that City may come and blow Spurs away early on, Tottenham’s resolve has proved effective this season when falling behind. We’re going for a 2-2 result, which you can get at 11/1 with Grosvenorsport.com.
Liverpool v FC Porto
The Reds were handed the plum tie in the quarter-finals as they were pitted against Portugues side FC Porto.
Jurgen Klopp’s side prepared for this encounter with a 3-1 Premier League win over Southampton on Friday night, but they had to do it the hard way and come from a goal down to keep their hopes of the domestic league title alive.
Another boost was that they emerged from the game with no injuries as well, and Klopp will be confident his side can progress to the last four, and they are 2/7 favourites at Anfield.
Poro overturned a 2-1 deficit in the last stage to knock Roma out of the competition, and their only domestic defeat this year is a 2-1 loss to rivals Benfica at the start of March.
Iker Casillas and Pepe provide them with a wealth of ChampIons League experience, but they are 19/2 to come away with a lead from the first leg.
Porto may be able to keep the Reds quiet for a half, but the Reds, buoyed by their home crowd can take an advantage into the second leg, and the bet which looks appealing is a draw/Liverpool win in the half-time/full-time market at 3/1.
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