Liverpool vs Porto – Tuesday, 6th February
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 5, 2018
While this match is technically only half way over, it is fair to say that Liverpool are very close to reaching the last eight of the Champions League.
They destroyed Porto 0 – 5 in the first leg after scoring heavily in the group stage as well. A hat-trick from Sadio Mane saw them take a huge lead over the Portuguese team who will now have to score at least six goals at Anfield if they are going to win the match.
The weekend saw Liverpool beat Newcastle 2 – 0 and they are sure to be full of confidence going into this fixture.
However, Porto shouldn’t be underestimated, they will be determined to put on a better show than in the first leg and the Reds might not have things quite so easy. Vincent Aboubakar was the team’s star in the group stages scoring five goals in five appearances and he will be trying to add to this tally. He has already scored 20 times in all competitions this season and he will be the man that Liverpool need to watch.
Prior to the first leg of this match Porto had been playing well defensively and only conceded five goals. At home they are at the top of the Primeira League by five points having defeated Sporting Lisbon 2 – 1 over the weekend.
Liverpool will be without Nathaniel Clyne while Georginio Wijnaldum and Ben Woodburn are in doubt. It is expected that Simon Mignolet will be in goal and Dominic Solanki, Joel Matip, Joe Gomes, Alberto Moreno, James Milner and Adam Lallana are all hoping to start. However, with the pressure off this game, Jurgen Klopp may choose to rest some of his regular starters.
Porto may be missing up to four players including Danilo Pereira, Vincent Aboubakar, Ricardo Pereira and Alex Telles. Making Porto’s task even harder is the knowledge that they have never won a game on English soil.
It is no surprise that Liverpool are favourites to win the game at Winner Sports, with odds of 1/2, while Porto are at 6/1. However, while Liverpool are almost certain to reach the next round, it is significant that the odds on a draw are 10/3. It would not be surprising in Porto fight hard and manage to restrain the Reds.
PSG vs Real Madrid – Tuesday, 6th February
Real Madrid are going into this match with a 3 – 1 lead from the first leg, but this is not so great that they can be sure of progressing to the next round. Furthermore, PSG has a highly valuable away goal.
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadrid) March 5, 2018
This weekend saw Real Madrid defeat Getafe 3 – 1 and Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 300th La Liga goal in his 286th game. Gareth Bale also made it onto the score sheet and both will be hoping to do so once again in Paris.
Madrid know that they have a tough task ahead of them with Sergio Ramos telling the club website, “We already know what the Champions League means to us. We played a good game in the first leg and now we are going to Paris to try to play with the same seriousness. We know it’s going to be complicated, but that is our goal. We expect to face a very tough team in front of us and we will have to have the maximum concentration, play like we did here at home and will try to use our weapons to get through.”
However, Real Madrid will be boosted by the fact that PSG are likely to be without injured Neymar who recently had foot surgery in Brazil. On the other hand, they have not lost a single home match in any competition since March 2016.
PSGs home supporters are sure to turn up in force to try and cheer their team to the 2 – 0 victory they need to progress. The weekend saw them defeat Troyes 2 – 0 in Ligue 1 with Angel di Maria and Christpoher Nkunku both hitting the target.
PSG have won three of the teams’ seven meetings, with Real Madrid winning two and the other two ending in draws. They are coming to this match having rested some of their top players over the weekend including Edinson Cavani, Mbappe, midfielder Marco Verratti, winger Javier Pastore and defender Marquinhos.
This match is sure to be a battle and it is hard to predict if PSG will manage to do enough to close the deficit. PSG are favourites to win at 1/1 while a draw has been set at 3/1 and Real Madrid to win is at 12/5. However, PSG are at 13/5 to qualify while Real Madrid are at 1/4. It certainly suggests that PSG have their work cut out on Tuesday night.
Manchester City vs Basel – Wednesday, 7th March
Manchester City are welcoming Basel to the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night knowing that they are basically certain to qualify for the next round. They defeated Basel 4 – 0 in Switzerland three weeks ago with goals from Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva and Sergio Aguero.
Manchester City have been dominating the Primer League all season, losing just one match, and Basel are highly unlikely to be able to overcome them and score heavily enough to rescue the situation.
The Shot of the Match! 📸
— Manchester City (@ManCity) March 5, 2018
Basel have won their domestic league for the last eight years but they have never made it past the round of 16 in the Champions League. However, Basel did defeat Manchester United in the group stages of this season’s competition so they can’t be entirely discounted.
Surprisingly Manchester City have only been in the Champions League quarter-finals once before and Pep Guardiola has stressed that the team needs to stay focused on Wednesday and not take anything for granted.
The weekend saw Manchester City defeat Chelsea at the Etihad and this will further boost them ahead of Wednesday’s game. Basel on the other hand recently lost to the Young Boys in the Swiss Cup semi-final and they also lost to FC St. Gallen in the middle of February. Their last victory was against FC Thun back on February 10th.
It is no surprise that Manchester City are strong favourite to win this game at 1/7 while the odds on Basel are 18/1 and a draw is at 13/2. Furthermore, the shortest odds in the correct score markets are 19/4 on a 2 – 0 or 3 – 0 win for Manchester City.
In many ways it seems that this game is certain to be won by Manchester City, however, as Guardiola said, it is football and anything can happen.
Tottenham Hotspur vs Juventus – Wednesday, 7th March
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) March 5, 2018
After overcoming a disastrous start in Turin three weeks ago to hold Juventus to a 2 – 2 draw, Spurs are going into this game with a chance of reaching the quarter-finals for just the second time.
Tottenham Hotspur’s two away goals give them an important advantage going into this game and they are likely to be full of confidence after three consecutive wins in the last couple of weeks.
Juventus are likely to try and repeat the start of the first leg when Gonzalo HIguain put them two up within nine minutes, the second goal coming from a penalty after Ben Davies fouled Federico Bernardeschi.
However, Tottenham dominated in much of the second half and they will be more careful to do this from the start in this leg of the match. They certainly have reasons to be confident going into this match having defeated Real Madrid in the group stages and being unbeaten in seventeen games in all competitions in a run stretching back to December 16th.
Spurs are likely to be without Toby Alderweireld who has been struggling with a hamstring injury for four months. Last week manager Mauricio Pochettettino said that he doesn’t believe that he will be fit to face Juventus.
Juventus are sure to come into this game fighting with Allegri recently having said “we go to London convinced we can do it”. Since their draw with Spurs, Juventus have won all three of their games, most recently a 0 – 1 win over Lazio and they are very much keeping the pressure on in the fight for the top place in Serie A.
The betting odds on this game suggest that it will be a tough fight but one that Tottenham Hotspur is ultimately likely to win. Spurs are at 23/20 to win while Juventus are at 49/20 and a draw is at 12/5. Importantly, Spurs are now at 2/5 to qualify while Juventus trail at 2/1. However, the shortest odds in the correct score markets are 21/4 on a 1 – 1 draw followed by 6/1 on a 1 – 0 win for Spurs.
With both teams having everything to play for, fans can be sure of an exciting match with impassioned performances from both sides.