After yesterday’s draws, two more Champions League matches grace us with their presence this afternoon.
Chelsea @ Liverpool
We’ll start in England where Chelsea will travel to Liverpool in an all-England clash at Anfield Road. Both clubs have been playing well lately and are currently third and second place in England. This is the fifth consecutive year that these two clubs will meet in a knock-out round of the Champions League. Last season of course Chelsea won in the semi-finals and advanced to Moscow where they would lose to Manchester United. Liverpool had won previously in semi-finals including 2005 when they defeated AC Milan in Istanbul.
So what of this match? In each of the past two years the home side in the first leg has been at a disadvantage, allowing away goals and eventually losing on aggregate in the second leg. So can Chelsea get on the scoreboard more than once at Anfield, even if they don’t win the match? Odds are yes. Liverpool are a strong side but they won’t be able to give the home fans a clean sheet and thus put themselves in jeopardy for the second leg.
Prediction: Liverpool 2 – Chelsea 2
Bayern Munich @ Barcelona
The other quarterfinal today is an odd case. Bayern unmercifully thrashed Sporting Lisbon in the last round and were hailed as favorites to win the cup. But a very poor run of form lately in Germany have seen Bayern fall off the pace near the top of the Bundelisga, including a 5-1 destruction at the hands of Wolfsburg just last weekend. Barça have been playing very well and are in firm control of La Liga, having withstood a strong, late challenge from Real Madrid.
With today’s match at the Camp Nou, expect the fireworks to be on display from Barça. Bayern are a strong club for sure but they can’t possibly play as well as they did in the round of sixteen. And however much Liverpool apologists would like to claim, current domestic play does make a big difference in mid-week Champions League matches.
Prediction: Barça 3 – Bayern 1