English Duo Can Take Big Step to Semis

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Manchester City take on Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool head to Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Jurgen Klopp smiles during Liverpool training session

Manchester City’s quest for Champions League glory continues when they host Borussia Dortmund in the last eight on Tuesday, while Liverpool are in the Spanish capital to take on Real Madrid.

In two eagerly-anticipated quarter-final first-leg ties, City will expect to carve out a decent lead at the Etihad and Liverpool will hope to come away from Madrid with their chances of progressing to the semis also very much intact.

The two Premier League clubs will not be taking anything for granted, however, as City have fallen at the last-eight hurdle in each of the last three years, while Liverpool take on European heavyweights Real, who have been European champions a record 13 times and have lifted the Champions League four times since 2014.

Unsurprisingly, City are 3/10 favourites to secure a first-leg lead over Dortmund at the Etihad with Pep Guardiola’s side virtually untouchable in recent weeks.

Aside from a 2-0 defeat to Manchester United in the league, City have blown everyone else away, winning 26 of their last 27 games in all competitions, including comfortable 2-0 wins in both legs over Borussia Monchengladbach in the last 16 in Europe.

Haaland can Make his Mark

They will be approaching this tie with a bit of nervousness as the critics get ready to pounce if their inability to perform in the Champions League when it matters most resurfaces once again. However, so dominant have the Citizens been whenever they’ve taken to the field of late, it would be brave to suggest anything other than a home win, despite the fact Dortmund do have Europe’s hottest property in the shape of Erling Braut Haaland in their ranks.

Haaland will want to make his mark and is a decent shout at 33/20 to score anytime, while City to win and both teams to score, on offer at 17/10, also looks tempting.

Confident Liverpool a Real Threat

The chances of both English clubs winning their first legs on Tuesday are relatively high with Liverpool approaching their clash with Madrid at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium with plenty of confidence following an impressive 3-0 win at Arsenal in the Premier League on Saturday.

Jurgen Klopp’s side arguably turned in their best display of an inconsistent season at the weekend and finally look much more like the team that romped to the league title last season, with Fabinho’s return to midfield coinciding with an upturn in performances and results in recent weeks.

Amid their disastrous domestic form over the winter, the Reds managed to hold it together in Europe and had few problems seeing off RB Leipzig 4-0 on aggregate in the last 16. Mo Salah has five goals in the Champions League this season, while Diogo Jota, who came off the bench to score twice against the Gunners, has four in the competition this term.

No Ramos or Varane for Real

Even though Klopp has played it down, there may be an element of revenge on some of the Liverpool players’ minds later. They will remember the 3-1 final defeat in Kiev in 2018 when Sergio Ramos clashed with Salah in the first half which resulted in the Egyptian ace being forced off with a shoulder injury and the Real defender’s absence through injury only adds to the feeling the Reds can secure a narrow away victory.

Raphael Varane has also been ruled out after testing positive for coronavirus so the visitors’ frontmen will surely fancy their chances of getting on the scoresheet to grab a valuable away goal or two. Klopp’s side to win at 6/4 appeals, as does over 1.5 total Liverpool goals at 6/5.

*All odds correct at time of writing

A sports journalist for over 15 years, Aidan has been part of written and audio coverage on a wide-ranging number of events. Having played and coached at amateur level, he offers in-depth insight and opinion into the world of football in particular.

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