We’re down to the final four in the Champions League with all eyes looking at that possible Manchester City vs Liverpool final. But let’s start with the upcoming Liverpool vs Villarreal match up first.
LIVERPOOL VS VILLARREAL
If you looked at the Champions League Quarter-finals, I think everyone was expecting that it would be Liverpool vs Bayern Munich to face each other in the semis. Still, Villarreal have gone under the radar with their results. A 4-1 aggregate score against Juventus, with a 3-0 home win, was absolutely fantastic. The Bayern result, they go through 2-1.
If you look at Villarreal, the manager they’ve got, a very experienced team and Unai Emery knows his way around two-legged European ties. He’s won the Europa League with Sevilla three times on the spin and done very well in the Champions League with various clubs. He obviously knows what he’s doing, and he’s a very capable manager. He gets the best out of his team in European competitions.
It’s not going so well for him in La Liga, sitting around seventh place. You know, defensively, they’ve got a better record than Atletico Madrid and Barcelona this season – and they’ve got goals with Moreno up front, which may be a loss to them if he doesn’t get over this injury. They’ll set it up so that Liverpool will have to be totally respectful to Villarreal.
I still think pound-for-pound Liverpool are so much better, and if Liverpool bring their A-game to both legs, I can’t see Villarreal getting anything from it. But, if you’re slightly off it, Villarreal will punish you, and they will make it very hard for you.
I just think that Liverpool will get the job done at Anfield. I see Liverpool going through over two legs.
For the first leg I’m going to go with Liverpool to win it, and the second leg too. It will be close, but I think Liverpool will go through with a total aggregate of 4-1.
At Anfield, I’m going to go with Liverpool to win 3-0.
- Liverpool to win their first game against Villarreal is available at 2/7 (1.28).
- A 3-0 victory at Anfield is calculated at 21/10 (3.10).
- Liverpool come in at 4/25 (1.16) to qualify.
MANCHESTER CITY VS REAL MADRID
I almost called it, didn’t I? I felt if there was going to be an upset in the quarter-finals, it would be Atletico Madrid against Manchester City. I almost got it right!
It was really entertaining last 10 minutes in Madrid. Simeone’s team did have a few chances, but they couldn’t capitalise on it. They weren’t clinical enough. City rode their luck at times, but they got through by the skin of their teeth. They now face the other team in Madrid.
Real Madrid have found this competition to be exactly what they needed. At the right time, they’ve produced performances in this very, very experienced team. They’ve still got Casemiro, Modric, Kroos, and lots of goals in Benzema if they can supply him.
I just think with City, the way Liverpool have hunted them down in the Premier League, and hope they knocked them out of the FA Cup, physiologically, where are they now? There were a lot of forced changes for Guardiola against Liverpool in that semi-final. De Bruyne, Diaz and Walker all missing – it’s whether he can get that spine of the team back fit before they face Real Madrid. If they do, and they put out a really strong team, it will be a real uphill task for Real Madrid.
Still, it’s going to be a fascinating matchup between the two of them. It’s a difficult one to call this one. I’m going to go with Real Madrid. Just because at the business end of the competition, semi-final, they’ve been around it soo many times, and with that experienced team, I just think they’re going to do something over Manchester City – who are desperate for this competition and just can’t seem to get the job done.
I’m going to go over the two legs 3-2 Real Madrid – sneak through.
Guardiola would have fancied the second leg at home, but because they play home first, I think that’s going to be a big thing. I’m going to go with Manchester City to win the first leg 1-0.
- Manchester City to win the first leg is available at 1/2 (1.50).
- A 1-0 win for City at the Etihad is measured at 2/5 (1.40).
- Real Madrid to secure qualification comes in at 41/20 (3.05).
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*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of publishing