The draw for the quarter final round of the Champions League was made today. From five English sides to start the competition, and move on from the group, only two remained. One of those remaining two will go no further though as Manchester City will face Liverpool.
It does guarantee English representation in the Semi Finals, and certainly could have been worse for the Blues. Avoiding Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, City will face a side they have already beaten this season. However, it is also a side City have suffered a defeat against, and that could encourage the reds.
It’s not the first time City have faced English opposition in the later stages of a European competition. In the 1970-71 season, in the European Cup Winners Cup semi final, City lost 2-0 over two legs to Chelsea.
With the first leg to be played at Anfield on April 4th, it comes only four days after our trip to Everton. That will have been our only game between now and the first leg fixture, while Liverpool play twice. Traveling back from Crystal Palace on that game before the European fixture.
The second leg will now take place th every next week. Sandwiched between the two European fixtures is the Manchester derby, which now isn’t even the biggest game of the week for the Blues.
With Manchester City having other games in which to secure the Premier League this may now find some rotation from Pep as he focuses on the main prize. That team selection could anger some of the blues faithful, but we’ll have to wait and see what Pep does of course.
On the plus side, Liverpool also have their own derby to negotiate. Unlike City, who are at home though, Liverpool will travel to Goodison Park before that second leg fixture at the Etihad. Liverpool will still have to fight in that game, with their top four spot not yet secured.
In the other three fixtures Juventus face Real Madrid, while Sevilla will have to negotiate past one of Pep Guardiola’s former sides, Bayern Munich. Playing on the same nights as Manchester City will be the other side Guardiola has managed, Barcelona. They will host Edin Dzeko and co at the Nou Camp as Roma look to progress themselves.