European Preview: Liverpool vs Man City
The race for Europe’s top prize is on as this week sees the quarter finals first legs commence.
A repeat of last seasons final takes place this round as Juventus take on 12 time champions, Real Madrid, however, the eye catching tie of this years last eight is between two of the Premier League’s best teams.
Tomorrow, Liverpool play host to this seasons runaways leaders, Manchester City in what promises to be a mouth watering tie should the two teams repeat their thrilling encounter at Anfield back in January where Liverpool ran out 4-3 winners.
Both sides are famed for playing an attractive, free flowing, attacking, expansive style of football which has resulted in them both being the Premier League’s top two scoring sides, scoring a staggering 163 goals between with 88 for Guardiola’s City and 75 for Klopp’s Liverpool.
The way both clubs play and the success they are having on the pitch this season is down to their managers ethos of playing a high pressing, fast tempo, attacking game which is why they are both so entertaining to watch and why this promises to be an incredible tie.
Each sides star man will play a huge role in determining the outcome of the tie. Mohammed Salah and Kevin De Bruyne have been Liverpool and City’s best players this season and will have a say in who progresses to the Champion’s Leagues last four. Both players have not only performed well, but have enhanced their sides fellow attacking players, taking both clubs forward lines to a whole new level.
Salah has been in sensational form since his summer switch from Italian giants, Roma, scoring a staggering 29 league goals to date with 37 in all competitions. Most notably Salah’s best performance for the reds came in their 5-0 win over Watford before the international break where he scored 4 goals and set up the other.
The Egyptian forward has performed well for the Merseyside club in all games this season, but especially the big ones and facing off against City at Anfield under the lights could see the 25 year old continue his rich vein of goal scoring form as he aims to break the 40 goal barrier.
Whilst De Bruyne has not hit the goal scoring heights like his rival for the PFA player of the year has, the Belgian maestro has been Guardiola’s star man this season, dictating the tempo for City in the middle of the park and really making this City team tick.
A sharp thinker, slick passer and all round neat and clever player, De Bruyne has completed an incredible 1258 passes this season, resulting in his high number of assists, registering 19 so far this season.
Despite not scoring a large number of goals this season, De Bruyne has shown that he can deliver for City by getting on the score sheet, doing so in emphatic fashion against Chelsea, Leicester and Arsenal so far this season with incredible long range efforts.
Due to the way both clubs have performed on the pitch this season it is incredibly difficult to choose a favourite for who will progress from this tie, even with City 18 points above Liverpool in the table as either side are more than capable of going through.
Liverpool know that to progress they will have to mirror their performance over Manchester City in January over two matches whilst City will have to end their miserable Anfield record where they have not won since 2003 to have any chance of getting though to the semi finals.
Regardless of who the victor is, it sets up for another two incredible games between two fantastic teams who have already scored 12 goals between them in both of their league encounters so far this season.