With apologies to Cristiano Ronaldo’s amazing goal and a standout day for Franck Ribery and Bayern Munich, Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League fixtures feel a bit like the buildup to Wednesday’s ffering.
That’s because Premier League powers Manchester City and Liverpool begin their UCL quarterfinal at 2:45 p.m. ET, the same time Lionel Messi’s Barcelona tangles with Daniele De Rossi and AS Roma.
Liverpool vs. Man City
The first leg at Anfield will be memorably loud at the jump, as Liverpool supporters feel their status as the only club to trip up City in a meaningful match this season is just the tip of the iceberg.
The Reds fell 5-0 in the first meeting of the season, and did nearly give away the farm after building a 4-1 lead at Anfield on Jan. 14, but there are only a select few sides with the attacking firepower to put a scare into Man City, and Jurgen Klopp‘s trident of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane is one of them.
[ MORE: How will Liverpool, Man City line up? ]
Another perceived advantage for the Reds is Man City’s surprising history at Anfield; Liverpool has only lost once to City in 37 years. Kevin De Bruyne is not worried.
“In the end, people talk about these things but I’ve only been here two and a half years,” De Bruyne said. “This is only the second time I’ll play here. It’s different, but at the end of the day, it’s just a game and now we play two games home and away and we have to try to manage tomorrow, get a lead if possible, if not we can finish it next week.”
Barcelona vs. AS Roma
There’s no questions visiting i Lupi is the supreme underdog of the round, and their chances of sneaking up on Barcelona are slim to none.
Ernesto Valverde has a chance to lead Barca to the UCL title in his first season in charge, and said Roma “are no surprise package. If you look at their matches in the group stages, they played really well.”
Roma boss Eusebio Di Francesco is still playing with house money after winning a group with Chelsea and Atletico Madrid. He may not have Radja Nainngolan at his disposal, but there’s plenty of steel around starting with De Rossi.
“We’re going up against a team that forces you onto the back foot. You can see it in the statistics and in their approach. Every footballer, though, has to have as part of their temperament the ability to handle the pressure of these situations, particularly if you play for an important club. You have to be prepared to take risks, to believe in better. The mentality that ‘what will be will be’ is dangerous though; our objective is to prepare as much as possible so that we can make it a competitive match.”