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Eight clubs begin a showdown in the quarterfinals of the playoffs.
The first meetings between Manchester City and Atletico Madrid, Benfica and Liverpool will start the fight for tickets to the semifinals on Tuesday, April 5. On Wednesday, the 6th, Villarreal with Bayern Munich and Chelsea with Real Madrid will find out their relationship. Repeated meetings of the clubs are scheduled for April 12–13.
We have identified two obvious, in our opinion, favourites out of the eight clubs remaining in the draw and noted one club that can present a gift.
The first favourite is Liverpool
We should immediately note that the Merseysiders are the first in our register not by their status but simply by ordinal number. And that’s all. We recall that in the 1/8 finals, they were able to remove Inter Milan from their path. In Milan, the British won 2:0, and at home, in the return game, they lost with an uncritical score of 0:1.
The failure at Anfield in the replay with Milan was the first for Jurgen Klopp’s team since December 28, when it lost away to Leicester (0:1) in the framework of the English Championship. Then the Reds went on 15 matches without defeats in all tournaments (12 wins, three draws). Such a step allowed Liverpool to overtake Manchester City in the Premier League table, which not so long ago was the undisputed leader, and, it would seem, was confidently moving towards another league title in England. Now the realities are different.
The proof of the current real strength of Liverpool is the fact that after the defeat by Inter, the team wins for the fourth match in a row. Klopp’s guys won three games in the Premier League (all with a score of 2:0, by the way), and once they won the FA Cup, they reached the semifinals.
Liverpool is now on a good run and has excellent potential to become at least a participant in the final match of the Champions League and then take a swing at the top European club trophy.
The second favourite is Manchester City
And again, as in the case of Liverpool, Manchester City is second on our list, not by its status. We are sure that the chances of both Merseysiders and Josep Guardiola’s team for a possible triumph are equal.
In the 1/8 finals, City convincingly dealt with the Portuguese Sporting. In Lisbon, the British celebrated a big victory with a score of 5:0, after which they pleased the guests from Portugal with a draw of 0:0 at home. In their next match, the “citizens” continued their peacefulness in the Premier League with Crystal Palace (also 0:0).
The misfire in the game with the Eagles was the second match for Man City out of the last four in which they could not take a total of three points. Before that, there was a defeat at home with a score of 2:3 from Tottenham. These point deficiencies and the January away draw with Southampton (1:1) allowed Liverpool to get close to Guardiola’s team.
Despite all the minor negativity in the results, Manchester City now remains more than a formidable force with excellent internal potential. Therefore, the British strength should be put higher than that of Atletico Madrid, the quarterfinal opponent, and Chelsea and Real Madrid, the winner of the confrontation, which can then go to the “citizens” on the tournament grid.
The dark horse of the top level
The current owner of the UEFA championship trophy, as you know, is the Chelsea of Thomas Tuchel. The Londoners remain in the fight for the honorary award this season, having an opponent of 1/4th in the face of Real Madrid. However, they are not the favourites in the pair. For example, the coefficient for Chelsea’s passage to the semifinals is 1.86, and the same indicator for the Madrid team is 2.00.
“Aristocrats”, let’s remember, no one took into account in the previous campaign. For example, in the semifinals of the 2020/2021 season, they also met with Real Madrid. In the first game in Madrid, the British were content with a 1:1 draw, but at home, they achieved a 2:0 victory and reached the final. Tuchel’s guys were able to beat Manchester City 1:0. And again, we note, they were not favourites. Chelsea was such a dark horse with claims to the top level. And in the end, he achieved his goal. What prevents the Blues from repeating their success this season?