If Liverpool can overcome Manchester City to reach the semi-final of the Champion’s League it would probably represent Jürgen Klopp’s greatest achievement at the club to date.
The chances are that, in the semi-final, his team would have to face one of Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Münich. At this stage of their development, Liverpool aren’t good enough to beat any of those three teams.
Defensively, although showing some improvement, they are still weak in that area and any one of the three would fancy their chances of scoring more than once in the home leg and would even fancy their chances of scoring at least one away goal at Anfield.
This optimism on behalf of the opposition stems mainly from Liverpool’s poor record of conceding goals and the promotion of Loris Karius to number one goalkeeper and the purchase of Virgil van Dijk, whilst reducing the amount of goals conceded, hasn’t exactly turned the team into a defensive rock.
On this basis alone, Liverpool will be lucky if they can beat Manchester City to reach the semi-final. They probably won’t.
Manchester City, on the other hand, do have the capabilities to beat any of the other three likely opponents should they, as expected, knock Liverpool out over the two legs.
As the old saying goes, all they have to fear is fear itself. The last time they reached the semi-final of this competition they were drawn against Real Madrid and should have beaten them. Madrid were no better than average over the two legs and City’s problem in those games was that they were worse.
They showed far too much respect to their opponents and also missed any decent chance they created, not that they created many. It was as if they approached the game thinking they would lose and, with this attitude of course, they did.
It would be different this time around because Pep Guardiola has City playing a different style of football to the one they used in those games against Real Madrid and even the Spaniards would now struggle to have the ball very often.
So, although Liverpool fans won’t appreciate it, the best thing that can happen for English football is for City to go through to the next round as they have a better chance of progressing to the final and even winning the trophy than the Merseysiders
As with everything football related though, you just never know!