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You’ve got to tune in for Manchester City vs. Liverpool

The last two English sides in the competition meet, and it should be a cracker.

Liverpool v Manchester City - Premier League Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Having had an unprecedented five teams in the last 16, the Premier League is down to just two in the quarterfinals, and now they have to play each other. Maybe the English aren’t coming after all. Still, national pride aside, this should be a magnificent tie for the neutral: the last time they played, at Anfield, Liverpool stole the game from Manchester City with the odd goal in seven.

The reverse fixture, back in September, wasn’t such a happy game for Jurgen Klopp’s side, who were on the wrong end of a 5-0 shredding. But Liverpool have improved markedly since then, while City have remained generally excellent. Both sides are built to attack; both can have moments of inexplicable calamity in defence. Appointment viewing.

How Liverpool got here

Having sailed through the group stage, Liverpool went to Porto in the first leg of the round of 16 and took them to tiny pieces. Sadio Mane scored a hat-trick, and Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino chipped in with one apiece. That 5-0 win served two purposes. One, it demonstrated to Europe that Liverpool were a force to be reckoned with. And two, it meant they could take the second leg off. The Anfield faithful had to entertain themselves through a nil-nil draw.

How Manchester City got here

Similar scenes for City. A 4-0 win away at Basel set up a comfortable cushion, which meant that a 2-1 defeat at home was nothing more than a curious blip. City do have a habit of losing when Pep Guardiola dips into the squad — as well as Basel, Wigan Athletic, and Shakhtar Donetsk have beaten a rotated City side. This means that the only team to beat a full-strength City side this season is Liverpool. How convenient.

Key player: Virgil van Dijk

Let’s go with van Dijk, as he’s going to be the most notable difference between the Liverpool that will play in the quarter-finals, and the Liverpool teams that conceded eight goals in two games against this opposition. At their best, City’s fluid attack is probably the harshest examination a central defender can face.


There will be goals. Then there will be some more goals. After that, some goals. And after that ... let’s go with City. They are 21 points ahead of Liverpool in the Premier League. Probably a reason for that.