Liverpool’s hopes to making it to a second consecutive Champions League final appear to be decent after the draw for the quarterfinals was conducted. In a first, the semifinal draw was also done, which means we’ll know who the Reds’ potential semifinal opponents are (assuming they beat Porto, which we think they should!)
Who are Liverpool playing in the quarters?
They’re playing FC Porto, whom they beat 5-0 in the Ro16 last season. Porto progressed to the last eight by eliminating Roma, who were LFC’s SF opponents last year.
Who are Liverpool’s likely semifinal Champions League opponents?
If they beat Porto, LFC will face the winners of the Manchester United/Barcelona quarterfinal. They would’ve played FCB in last season’s semi had the Catalans not suffered a stunning exit at hands of Roma. The other side of the draw has Ajax, Juve, Man City and Spurs.
Juve, LFC, Man City and Barca are the only teams who also appeared in the last eight in the 2017/18 season.
Liverpool will enter the international break as league leaders after a hard fought 2-1 win over strugglers Fulham at Craven Cottage. With rivals Man City not in action as they were playing in the FA Cup, the Reds had a chance to go top of the league with a win in London, and did so thanks to a first half strike from Sadio Mane and a late penalty from James Milner.
Jurgen Klopp made two changes from the side that had secured a famous European triumph in midweek against Bayern. One was injury enforced in the form of Jordan Henderson, while the other saw James Milner drop to the bench, with Fabinho and Adam Lallana both coming into the XI.
Fulham caretaker boss Scott Parker made twice as many changes as his opposite number. In came Anguissa, Seri, Fosu-Mensah and Ayite and out went Odoi, McDonald, Sessegnon and Nordtveit.
As good as Liverpool’s performance was on Wednesday night at the Allianz Arena, few would disagree that this was not the Bayern Munich of old. Three FCB players- Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Thomas Muller had been told by national coach Jogi Low that they no longer had a future with Die Mannschaft. Muller was suspended for this game, Boateng only made it to the bench because Joshua Kimmich was suspended (which resulted in Rafinha being promoted to the starting XI), and Hummels was poor in comparison to his opposite number Virgil van Dijk, who also beat him to a corner to score the goal that effectively sealed Bayern’s fate.
The German media operates on a 6-1 scale (6 being very bad and 1 being very good). Gnabry and Thiago were the only players to get an “average” rating for this game- both picked up 3’s. Manuel Neuer is nowhere near his best after coming back from injury and that reflected in his 5 for the game. James and Lewandowski were expected to be crucial for Bayern, but neither really turned up on the evening.
Kicker ran the headline “Deutsches Desaster”, alluding to the fact that no German club made it to the quarters of the CL. Continue reading
Liverpool turned in one of their best away performances in the Champions League this season as they convincingly beat Bayern Munich in the second leg of their European knockout tie. After a 0-0 draw in the first leg, many pundits thought Bayern had the edge, especially as Jurgen Klopp’s men had suffered defeats away in Paris, Naples and Belgrade during the group stages.
But Bayern seemed short on ideas, and Liverpool, thanks to the brilliance of Sadio Mane, sealed a famous 3-1 win at the Allianz Arena. The Senegalese opened the scoring with a beautiful goal on 26 minutes and fittingly enough, also scored the final one of the evening, beating Manuel Neuer with a header from point blank range.
Virgil van Dijk again showed why many consider him as the world’s best defender, and his fantastic header midway through the second half, beating both Hummels and Martinez to the ball, was a pivotal moment in the game. Continue reading
A game that could have a pivotal impact on the title race sees Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United square off against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. The Reds have a better record under the referee for this game, but United will be doing local rivals City a great favour if they can take points off the Reds in this GW27 clash.
Here are the predictions for the game from various well known TV pundits
Mark Lawrenson: Lawro says that the atmosphere at Old Trafford will be “white-hot” and that this is “one of Liverpool’s difficult league games between now and the end of the season”
Has predicted a 1-1 draw.
Paul Merson: Merson predicts a 2-1 win to United, saying that the “nerves of Liverpool will be too much”
Robbie Savage: Savage is another who has gone for the same scoreline as Merson- a 2-1 is his prediction as well.
Michael Owen & Kevin Kilbane: Ex-Liverpool striker Owen and former Everton medio Kilbane have both tipped this to end in a draw, but one in which both teams will score.
Bottom line: Few think Liverpool can win at Old Trafford this afternoon! Three points here would be a huge statement of intent from the Reds.
The referee for Round 27’s marquee clash between Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United and Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool has been announced, and it’s Michael Oliver.
The Reds have a very good recent record under him. Oliver last refereed a Liverpool game in December- the 5-1 win over Arsenal at Anfield. LFC are on a four game winning streak under him, and their last defeat with him in the middle came nearly two years ago, when Leicester beat them 3-1 at the end of the 2016/17 season.
Liverpool last four under Oliver
Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal
Huddersfield 0-1 Liverpool
Tottenham 1-2 Liverpool
Crystal Palace 0-2 Liverpool
Manchester United were on a three game losing streak under Oliver before they halted it with a 5-1 thrashing of Cardiff before Christmas, also Solskjaer’s first game as Red Devils interim manager after taking over from Jose Mourinho.
United have a win percentage of a little over 40% in Oliver games over the last decade or so. Their last win against a fellow top six side when Oliver was the ref came back in 2016.
This is the first time since January 2017 that Oliver is taking charge of a game between these two great North West rivals. That last clash (at Old Trafford) ended in a 1-1 draw.
United’s last four games under Oliver
Cardiff 1-5 Man Utd
West Ham 3-1 Man Utd
Chelsea 1-0 Man Utd
Man Utd 1-2 Man City