The Champions League quarter-finals are upon us and it’s time to sit back and watch some of the world’s best go head-to-head.
Here’s our tipster’s thoughts ahead of tonight’s matches.
Liverpool v Manchester City
No doubt about it, this one will be the tie of the round. This fixture in domestic action has provided us with 12 goals in two matches, and this one promises to have goals in abundance too.
The top two scorers in the Premier League; Liverpool have netted 75 times and City 88 during the campaign, while City have only suffered one league defeat all season – against Liverpool at Anfield in January.
Only Manchester United, West Brom and Porto have stopped Liverpool finding the net at home, while City have only failed to score in three games, against Crystal Palace in the league and cup games against Wigan and Wolves.
That recipe sounds like it could add up to something like the 4-3 thriller in the league in January – and both sides and both managers only seem to know how to play one way.
That’s why I’ll be backing over 3.5 goals at 33/20 with Grosvenorsport.com. That’s just too good to turn down.
Mo Salah will obviously be the one to watch but Sadio Mane has really come into form and his price of 49/20 to score anytime is certainly the most value in my opinion.
If pressed to choose a winner, it would be hard to look past Liverpool who have home advantage and you can be sure Anfield will be loud and intimidating for the City players.
The Reds are 39/20 to clinch a first leg victory.
Barcelona v Roma
Not often in a Champions League quarter-final would you be so confident to see one side qualify with ease, which is exactly what I’m backing Barcelona to do.
The 11/4 favourites to win the competition have made the semi-finals just once in the last five seasons, but Ernesto Valverde’s men are formidable this season and closing in on yet another La Liga title.
The Catalonians are short at 11/50 to win the first leg and looking at the respective records of the two teams you can see why – Barcelona have not lost a European game at the Nou Camp for five years and have kept a clean sheet in 11 of their last 13 games on home soil.
Goals have also been free-flowing, Barca have bagged three or more in ten of their last 13 Champions League games at home – and stuck six past Roma the last time the Italians played in Catalonia.
Three of the last five games between the two sides had three goals or more in them, and Roma’s away record in the competition being pretty poor as a win at Qarabag last year is their only victory on the road in their last 14 Champions League matches.
Lionel Messi proved his worth by coming off the bench with Barcelona 2-0 down to help rescue a 2-2 draw against Sevilla at the weekend, and as always he’ll be the man Roma have to stop to stand a chance – but all signs point to a comfortable home win.
The Argentine playmaker is 6/4 to score twice, which is what I’m tipping and it’ll be hard to see Roma stopping him when in full flow.
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