All-English matchup highlights Champions League quarterfinals

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There are only eight teams left in this year’s Champions League, and the quarterfinals have some enticing fixtures. The glamour matchup of last year’s final between Juventus and Real Madrid headlines the next round, as well as an all-English affair as Manchester City square off against Liverpool in a tie that is bound to have goals galore.

Barcelona vs. Roma

Leg 1: April 4 @ 2:45 p.m. EST

Leg 2: April 10 @ 2:45 p.m. EST

Barcelona has to be pleased with getting drawn against Roma in the quarterfinals. Barcelona beat Chelsea last round 4-1 on aggregate, but that scoreline does not properly represent the two-legged matchup. There were times against Chelsea in the last round where Barcelona looked second-best. Meanwhile, Roma advanced on 2-2 aggregate scoreline against Shakhtar Donetsk thanks to an away goal they scored in the first leg.

Barcelona has a wealth of attacking talent in their front-line and in their midfield. Because of this, they sacrifice a little bit of defensive stability. Chances will come against Barca, but the opposition has to finish them. One of the reasons Chelsea did not beat Barca last round was because they hit the woodwork four times across the two legs. Roma will need to be clinical in the final third if they are going to upset Barca.

The individual matchup to watch has to be Roma’s defensive midfielder Daniele De Rossi against Lionel Messi. De Rossi will likely be tasked with following Messi around for the full 90 minutes. If the Roma captain can’t contain Messi then it will be a long two games for Roma. The rest of Roma’s defense, which is normally solid, will have to deal with the rest of Barca’s attacking threats.   

Sevilla vs. Bayern Munich

Leg 1: April 3 @ 2:45 p.m. EST

Leg 2: April 11 @ 2:45 p.m. EST

Give Sevilla credit. They were the better team over two legs against Manchester United last round. Sevilla should have won the first leg, but it ended 0-0 and in the second leg, the Spanish side got their result for constantly putting pressure on Manchester United. The only problem is Sevilla’s reward for beating Manchester United is Bayern Munich.

Now Bayern’s road to the quarterfinals has been pretty easy. Aside from PSG in their group, Bayern has played Celtic, Anderlecht and Besiktas. However, Bayern consistently dominate lower opposition. They should have no problem beating Sevilla. Bayern has a 20 point lead in the Bundesliga and will be focusing on Champions League. So expect Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Müller, Thiago Alcantara and company to overwhelm Sevilla.  

Juventus vs. Real Madrid

Leg 1: April 3 @ 2:45 p.m. EST

Leg 2: April 11 @ 2:45 p.m. EST

A couple of facts that are going to make this quarterfinal interesting: First, the last time there were two Italian teams in the quarterfinals of the Champions League was in 2006/07 and an Italian team, AC Milan, won. Second,this was last year’s Champions League final. Why mention this? Well, Juventus wants revenge and also they are more likely to reach the Champions League final than Roma is.

Juventus have an incredible amount of experience. The only trophy that Gianluigi Buffon has not won is the Champions League. This could the 40-year-old’s last season and to end his career lifting the Champions League trophy would be fitting. Juventus also have a lethal attack lead by Argentine duo Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain. However what Juve do not have his depth. Outside of their starting 11 there are not a lot of difference makers on their bench. Juve will also be without central defender Medhi Benatia and key midfielder Miralem Pjanic due to suspension.

By the time Benatia and Pjanic return for the second leg, this quarterfinal could be over. Cristiano Ronaldo is always a threat. He has 117 Champions League goals. However, it is Real Madrid’s midfield that could take over this game. Luka Modric, Casemiro and Toni Kroos dictate the pace of play so well that Juventus might not even get a sniff of the ball (just ask PSG).  

Liverpool vs. Manchester City

Leg 1: April 4 @ 2:45 p.m. EST

Leg 2: April 10 @ 2:45 p.m. EST

Do you like goals?! Well step right up, because do I have the Champions League quarterfinal match for you! Liverpool has scored 28 goals in this year’s Champions League while Manchester City has scored 19. Both teams have played some of the most visually appealing soccer in Europe. Liverpool and Man City are fast and ruthless in front of goal, and it is sad to think that only one of these teams will be in the semifinals.

These two teams have met twice already in the Premier League. Man City picked apart 10-man Liverpool 5-0 on Sept. 9, 2017 while Liverpool beat Man City 4-3 at Anfield, handing Man City their first Premier League loss on Jan. 14. Now the soccer fans have been blessed with the opportunity to watch these two teams play another two times.

Whoever can win the battle in midfield will determine who advances from this tie. Liverpool will likely press City to stop them from building their attack through Kevin De Bruyne and hit them on the counterattack with Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah. City will try and control possession and pass their way through Liverpool. With the likes of De Bruyne, Leroy Sane and David Silva, Man City have to tools to break down Liverpool. So a bit of advice, just sit back and enjoy what should be the best quarterfinal matchup.