The English Premier League’s first and second-placed teams are slowly admitting success or defeat in regards to the domestic league title as Manchester City’s form drops, their chances of making a comeback with a 25-point gap separating them from first place Liverpool. The good news for City is the Champions League trophy is up for grabs.
Manchester City vs. Real Madrid
Round of 16*Leg 2 of 2
The first-leg was a pleasant one for Pepe Guardiola and his squad; they overcame Spanish giants Real Madrid in hostile territory. Leading the aggregate score heading into the second leg at home is huge for Manchester City as they can qualify with a 0-0 or a 1-1 draw, as well as the easiest method of simply winning the game. Home advantage and a determined focus should make life difficult for the Spaniards heading into the Etihad.
For the first time in history, City had conquered the almighty Real Madrid which means the north English side hold the lead and the momentum advantage. The incredible comeback from 1-0 down showed the huge gaps in Madrid’s awareness; they’ll need to fix these issues before traveling to Manchester.
Maybe events would’ve been more promising given their side are facing a ban from European club competition for two years. City has appealed the decision but, the issue will remain and continue to loom over the future of the club.
If last year’s Champions League is any sign of what’s to come, then the second leg fixtures are far over. The second half will be in the North of England; Madrid coming in with more determination due to their loss could prove to be the most dangerous. Madrid will need to achieve two goals inside a fully packed Etihad Stadium against a team whose full focus will be on obtaining European silverware. Whilst making a pick, this one is quite simple. Take the team with the goal advantage who are playing at home.
Liverpool’s Champions League exit
Despite dominating the entire game, Liverpool’s efforts came too little, too late this past Wednesday night in Anfield, Liverpool.
A 1-0 lead in 90 minutes made the fixture equal on aggregate and as Liverpool sailed to a 2-0 lead in extra-time, the Spaniards made a comeback out of nowhere. 26 efforts on goal from the European champions in an eye-watering game for Liverpool fans, as Athletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak put on a world-class performance.
At the opposite end stood in goal, the praise was non-existent. Perhaps to blame for Liverpool’s loss, goalkeeper Adrian conceded 3 goals during the extra time, crashing Liverpool out of the competition they won last year. A failed defensive clearance straight into the feet of Madrid’s Felix was the beginning of the end. Incredibly, Liverpool had a total 35 shots and Arnold made 25 crossed balls, these numbers are ridiculous for a team to walk away without the win.
This evening at Anfield will go down as a Champions League mystery, perhaps the fear that follows the Athletico Madrid aura played out in this fixture, but the reality is that Athletico have shown to have a poor defensive away record in the Champions League and although
This defeat sees Liverpool exit the Champions League and the FA Cup within eight days and they’ve also lost four of their last six games. It again completely puts into perspective Manchester United’s treble-winning achievement in 1998-1999, this is un-replicated.
For Liverpool, this is still a historic, joyful 19/20 season, and fingers crossed it will be completed despite the coronavirus crisis as they have run away with the Premier League title, but it was still a shock to see the current champions go out of this competition, and in this way.
“Hopefully they are all fine. Now we have three days to prepare the derby.”https://t.co/oQRzDCQu4U
— Liverpool FC News (@LivEchoLFC) March 12, 2020
There will be no jubilant return to Istanbul where the final will be held, no echoes of the 2005 final, and no third Champions League Final in a row. This time the marvel belonged to Atletico.
So, whilst the top side in domestic competition exit’s the Champions League, the second-best team will head into their second leg fixture next week hoping to keep the trophy on English soil. I think Manchester City can take it all this season, with less focus on the league, Pepe and the boy will have all their momentum heading into Europe.