Mon 9 Apr by Mark Gleeson
The concession of six goals in their last two matches is the primary concern for Manchester City’s hopes of advancing as they go into tonight’s (TUESDAY) UEFA Champions League quarter-final at home to Liverpool with their backs to the wall.
Three goals let in, in the first leg at Anfield, means a difficult task in tonight’s return but it is more the way Man City let a two-goal lead slip against neighbours Manchester United at home on Saturday that will be most concerning.
Jose Mourinho’s side had looked toothless through a tepid first half performance yet were able to turn around the match and go on a win, thereby denying City’s league coronation in front of their own fans.
For Liverpool to stave off any City comeback tonight, they will need to score at least one goal and suddenly turn City’s requirement for victory from four to five goals.
After watching the way Man United were able to pick their way through the City defence on Saturday, there must be a confidence in the Reds’ ranks that Liverpool are capable of at least one away goal.
The all-English tie promises to be another night of exciting European football, although whether the same atmosphere created at Anfield in the first leg is possible in the City of Manchester Stadium remains to be seen.
Pep Guardiola’s team really need a pep-up after the two defeats of the last week and it is the crowd support that could help the most.
Liverpool rested Mohamed Salah at the weekend, in their derby draw with Everton, and his replacements were unable to come anywhere near his proficiency in front of goal.
City will be aware that if the Egyptian is kept in check, they could then have the way open to make merry at the other end of the pitch and pick off the deficit.
Tonight’s other quarter-final, second leg clash looks mundane in comparison as Barcelona take a 4-1 lead to Roma.
TAB punters will also not have any money on Sevilla as they travel to Bayern Munich.
Tomorrow’s (WEDNESDAY) tie in Germany is of academic interest only, as is Real Madrid’s hosting of Juventus after their stunning 3-0 away success in Turin last week.
Guaranteed for the semifinal draw will be two Spanish clubs, the German champions and an English side – Liverpool, if they can snatch an away goal, or City, if they can keep their defence tight.