If there’s one team I didn’t want Liverpool to draw at this stage, it was Man City – for a couple of reasons. Firstly, and rather obviously, Man City are a very, very good side who have been so consistent in the Premier League and the Champions League this year so it just makes sense that they should want to avoid them.
Liverpool do have a few advantages over the Citizens, however; the atmosphere at Anfield on a European night is often referred as being “like no other” so the Reds will really have to make that count, especially as they have the home leg first. Their other advantage is their own Champions League form, they have scored 28 goals in 8 matches so far with two games in the group stage ending 7-0 for the Merseyside giants.
Their third advantage, the dark horse of the competition, their assist king –James Milner; the Liverpool midfielder surprisingly leads the way in the assist category in the Champions League this season. Their last advantage, Aguero’s Anfield duck – the prolific Argentine forward has never scored a goal at Anfield and the Reds will be hoping that continues should he play.
The two sides met only two months ago at Anfield where the league leaders were dealt their first loss this season in the Prem when they lost 4-3. Interestingly, Klopp decided not play Virgil van Dijk in that fixture so this will be his first match against City for Liverpool and everyone is hoping [except City, Everton and maybe United fans] that his inclusion will shore up the defence. Despite both sides coming away with a win in their last two league meetings, it’s important to remember that City have put eight goals past the Reds so it’s crucial that the defence holds up.
The second reason why I didn’t want to draw Man City is because it’s a EUROPEAN competition – yes, we’re guaranteed an English semi-finalist this way but I’d rather see the club I support [Liverpool – in case you hadn’t guessed] be drawn against a team from the continent rather than the team down the road. It’s not guaranteed that we’ll be in the Champions League next season so I want to play those teams whilst we have the chance, not a team that we play twice a year, at least, anyway.
I do believe that with the squad that Liverpool have, they can beat City over two legs in the Champions League. Everyone involved and around the club at Liverpool – fans included – has a better understanding of the competition and hat it means to be in it and with the Reds’ history in the competition, there’s a certain level of pride to play for as well.
I think the score will end 5-3 in favour of Liverpool, largely due to the atmosphere at Anfield and the part the fans play, especially on big European nights, to spur the players on but also because of how clinical the front three are this season for the Reds.