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How the UCL results affect the Premier League title run-in

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The Premier League title may well be decided one week from now.

No, it won’t mathematically be impossible for Manchester City or Liverpool to catch the other, but the former’s exit from the UEFA Champions League certainly puts the season’s binoculars in better focus.

To recap: City trails Liverpool by two points but has a match-in-hand on its title rivals, a card which will be played next Wednesday across Manchester at Old Trafford.

[ UCL RECAPS: Man City-Spurs | Porto-Liverpool ]

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Liverpool 34 26 7 1 77 20 57 15-2-0 11-5-1 85
 Manchester City 33 27 2 4 86 22 64 16-0-1 11-2-3 83

It would be surprising if Liverpool finished with any less than 97 points given its remaining schedule, and downright shocking should the Reds lose a match (yes, we know red cards and penalties happen, and that Premier League does not yet employ VAR).

Liverpool faces Cardiff City, Huddersfield Town, Newcastle United, and Wolves. The final two matches are in contact with a pair of Champions League matches against Barcelona, but dropping points more than once seems like a long shot.

By comparison, Man City has to rebound from Wednesday’s stunning thriller of a loss to Spurs with a rematch at the Etihad Stadium before making it three tough matches in eight days with a Manchester Derby on April 23.

Should Man City manage those two wins in five days, Pep Guardiola‘s men will (likely) have a one point lead on Liverpool with three matches left (two fewer than the Reds). If it comes to that, the advantage is squarely in Pep’s court.

Here are the remaining matches for both teams, not including the FA Cup Final or (possible) Champions League Final.

All times ET

Saturday – Man City v. Tottenham (7:30 a.m.)

Sunday – Cardiff City v. Liverpool (11 a.m.)

Wednesday – Man Utd v. Man City (3 p.m.)

April 26 – Liverpool v. Huddersfield Town (3 p.m.)

April 28 – Burnley v. Man City (9:05 a.m.)

April 30 – Barcelona v. Liverpool (TBD)

May 4 – Man City v. Leicester City (7:30 a.m.)

May 5 – Newcastle v. Liverpool (11:30 a.m.)

May 7 – Liverpool v. Barcelona (TBD)

May 12 – Brighton v. Man City -and- Liverpool v. Wolves (10 a.m.)

UCL Live: Can Spurs hold on v. Man City? Liverpool 2-0 up at Porto

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Two more places in the UEFA Champions League semifinals are up for grabs on Wednesday, and two Premier League sides could very well be headed for the last-four.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

The PL is guaranteed at least one spot in the semis once Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur conclude their quarterfinal clash at the Etihad Stadium. Mauricio Pochettino‘s side holds a narrow 1-0 lead on Pep Guardiola and Co., but must protect — or build upon — their advantage without the services of world-class forward Harry Kane (ankle ligament damage). Man City’s ongoing pursuit of the unprecedented quadruple hinges upon overturning the deficit.

The other remaining PL side, Liverpool, takes a 2-0 lead to Portugal, where they’ll attempt to send Porto out of the competition and reach back-to-back semifinals for the first time since 2008. Jurgen Klopp‘s side advanced all the way to the final in 2018 before the Reds fell to Real Madrid in Kiev, Ukraine.

Barcelona and Ajax were the first two sides to reach the semis on Tuesday.

Below is the full schedule for Wednesday’s games, and PST will have you covered with recaps, analysis and reaction from both games.

Wednesday’s UCL quarterfinal schedule

Manchester City v. Tottenham Hotspur – 3 p.m. ET kickoff

Porto v. Liverpool – 3 p.m. ET kickoff

Milner: Liverpool’s style, flair mean little without a trophy

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The only point at which Liverpool can be considered one of the world’s best teams is if/when the current squad wins a trophy, according to Reds midfielder/defender James Milner.

[ MORE: Messi scores 2 in first 20 minutes to sink Man United (video) ]

Milner admitted this week that it’s been nice for Liverpool to receive plaudits from all over the world regarding their exciting brand of attacking soccer, but it matters very little if they can’t soon secure a first major trophy under Jurgen Klopp.

Indeed, Porto manager Sergio Conceicao, whose side will host the Reds in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals on Wednesday, has joined the chorus in praising Liverpool for playing the game in a way which is very pleasing on the eye.

“I like the Liverpool dynamics. I like the Liverpool game model,” he said this week. “I like the way they play and the way they are with the ball, and also without it. It is similar to how I see football and in a lot of these moments in a game they are the best team in the world.”

[ MORE: Unplayable Messi reacts as Barca “finally” returns to UCL semis ]

It’s the last little bit against which Milner pushed back — “the best team in the world.” Whether it’s the Champions League or the Premier League, only a shiny piece of silverware can validate such a title — quotes from the Guardian:

“That’s a nice compliment, and you get those compliments by playing good football over a sustained period. But to be that, you have to win trophies. That’s something we haven’t done yet and something we are trying to do this season. There are a lot of good teams left in the Champions League and it’s down to us to prove that and win these games and hopefully win at least one trophy this season. But there are a lot of good teams between us and the last game of the season. We have to keep improving and keep playing as we have been at the moment.”

Liverpool lead Porto 2-0 after their victory in the first leg at Anfield last week.

UCL Weds. preview: Spurs visit Man City; Liverpool at Porto

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Even neutrals can feel the tension in the air as Premier League powers Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur collide in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal on Wednesday.

[ UCL: Ajax ousts Juve | Barca past Man Utd ]

Spurs emerged from the first leg with a terrific 1-0 score line coming off the boot of Heung-Min Son. That means no away goals to Pep Guardiola‘s potent City, a draw, or a scoring one-goal loss will be enough for Spurs to advance to the UCL semifinal and a date with Ajax.

“We have a small advantage but everything can turn very quickly so it’s important to come here with ambition, to stick with our basics as usual but if we come here with the mentality to score goals it’s going to make the game harder for Manchester City,” said Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. “We know it’s going to be tough, we’re going to suffer, but it’s important to be ready in our minds not just to defend but to be ambitious in our performance. … The mentality is very important in a big game like this one and we’ll see what we will deserve.”

On the City side, there’s good news in that Pep Guardiola’s possession-based, attack-heavy model doesn’t yield a lot of chances and the players will be well-drilled when teams play on the counter.

Pep Guardiola obviously knows how to motivate players, but he used the press conference to get City supporters in the right frame of mind. He basically dared them not to find a high level at the Etihad Stadium. From The Manchester Evening News:

“Do it for the guys, they are so proud,” Guardiola said. “We need them in our bad moments, at this stage we cannot go through. … I want to see that they want to get to the semi finals, not just the players, the fans too. I want to see that.”

Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool would need to fall flat on their face at the Estadio do Dragao, relatively speaking, to avoid a second-straight semifinal.

The Reds hold a 2-0 advantage after one leg at Anfield, which means Porto would require a three goals or better win to advance in Liverpool’s place.

That’s not to say Porto lacks the fire power to score, but one goal from the visitors means the hosts will need to bag four. Liverpool has only allowed three goals once this season, in a 4-3 defeat of Crystal Palace, and last allowed four against Roma in last season’s UCL semis.

Joe Gomez ready for Liverpool return

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Joe Gomez has handed Liverpool another huge boost in their quest to win the Premier League title.

The England international, 21, has been out since suffering a fracture to his lower left leg during a win at Burnley in December.

Initially, Gomez was only going to be out for a few weeks but complications have since arrived and he has had to have surgery and further treatment to rectify the issue.

Speaking ahead of Liverpool’s UEFA Champions League quarterfinal second leg at Porto on Wednesday (Liverpool have a 2-0 lead from the first leg), Jurgen Klopp revealed Gomez is now available for selection and has travelled with the team to Portugal.

“Absolutely [he looks strong]. Ox and Joe both did really well at Leicester, it was a brilliant game by all of the boys, to be honest, I watched it back. It looked really good,” Klopp said. “It’s clear they still need time to get full match fitness but it’s nice to have them back and now Joe first as an option. He played right full-back, we need him as this option as well. We all know he played a wonderful season at the centre-half position until his injury, but he can play both and it’s good to have him.”

Klopp now has a lot of options in defense, as Joel Matip has stepped in and played pretty well alongside Virgil Van Dijk over the past few months, as losing Gomez for a pivotal stretch of the season was a big concern for Liverpool. Even though Matip has filled in well, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson are clearly Liverpool’s first-choice back four.

With Dejan Lovren out with illness, getting Gomez back is a big deal for Liverpool as the composed center back was developing a superb relationship with VVD in the heart of Liverpool’s defense. However, with only TAA as a right back option and the likes of James Milner having to fill in there at times, it seems likely Gomez will rotate in that full back role in the final weeks of the season rather than disrupt the Matip-VVD partnership.

Mark this down as another big plus for Liverpool in their quest to win the league title for the first time since 1989-90.

In other injury news, Klopp also confirmed that Lovren is out of the game against Porto, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain needs more fitness work, Adam Lallana has returned to training and Jordan Henderson is fit after a slight ankle knock against Chelsea.

All in all, good news for Liverpool as they enter a season-defining 10 days.