As usual, the draw for the quarter-finals of the Champions League threw up some highly attractive fixtures, none more so than the all-English clash between Liverpool and Manchester City. The two remaining Premier League sides will battle it out for a place in the semi-finals, with the 1st leg happening at Anfield on Wednesday.
City, who have all but secured the EPL title, are the slight favourites with top bookies for the first leg but they will not need reminding that Liverpool are the only side to beat them in the league this season. The last clash was a real cracker and this one promises to be just as good, with plenty for punters to think about.
This season can certainly be considered a success for Liverpool. Jürgen Klopp’s side are currently battling with Manchester United for second place in the Premier League, while the quarter-final stage is probably further than most people expected them to reach in the Champions League. Fans are dreaming of another European triumph, though, and they won’t want the journey to end here.
The Reds’ form at home has been a major factor in that success. Klopp’s men have lost just once at Anfield all season: an FA Cup defeat to West Brom. They’ve also improved on the defensive front in recent months, keeping a clean sheet in their last three Champions League fixtures at home.
As mentioned, Liverpool are the only team who have managed to beat City in the league this season, winning 4-3 when the two sides met on Merseyside in January. With the quality of their front three, plus the famous atmosphere on European nights at Anfield, the Reds are certainly an appealing prospect at odds of 15/8 with Betway.
Manchester City could have the Premier League title in the bag by the time of the second leg a week on Tuesday, so their focus is now on a first Champions League trophy. Pep Guardiola’s side have lost twice in the competition this season but both of those defeats came when they were already in comfortable positions.
In fact, City have lost just four all times in all competitions this season and their only defeat away from home in 2018 so far was that 4-3 reverse at Anfield. They won 4-0 at Basel in their last 16 first leg and are 7/5 with a number of new online betting sites to take a lead back to Manchester again.
Whatever the result, the bookies are expecting it to be a close game, with a 1-1 draw currently the favourite in the correct score market at 13/2 with William Hill. 2-1 to City is a tempting 17/2 with bet365, while the same scoreline in Liverpool’s favour is 10/1. For a wild punt, Betfair are offering 125/1 on Liverpool to repeat their 4-3 win in January.
If the two previous meetings between these two sides this season are anything to go by, this match promises a lot of goals. The two games produced a total of 12 goals, with City thrashing Liverpool 5-0 back in September before the Reds got revenge.
They’re by far the two highest-scoring teams in the Premier League this season and there’s no reason to believe Wednesday’s encounter won’t be another high-scoring one. It’s true that first legs can sometimes be cagey and tight affairs but it’s not in either of these teams’ nature to be cautious and defensive, and Liverpool will know they need to take a positive result to the Etihad.
Liverpool have recorded some big scorelines in the Champions League this season, thrashing Spartak Moscow 7-0 in the group stages and winning 5-0 at Porto in the last round. City, meanwhile, have scored 19 goals in their eight games in the competition this season. Odds of 13/8 on over 3.5 goals therefore look reasonably good value, and over 4.5 goals can be backed at 4/1 with Betfair.
If there are goals, Liverpool top scorer Mohamed Salah is likely to be among them. The Egyptian has scored a staggering 36 goals in 41 appearances for his club this season and is good odds at 27/5 in Unibet’s first and last goalscorer markets, or 7/4 for anytime scorer. He’s behind Manchester City strikers Sergio Agüero and Gabriel Jesus in the betting, but the uncertainty over which of them will start makes them riskier.