Manchester City entertain Liverpool in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday night. The Citizens suffered a rather disappointing 3-0 defeat on the road at Anfield last week, and they now need to produce a huge performance at the Etihad Stadium in order to overturn the deficit.
What happened over the weekend?
City suffered defeats in back-to-back games for the first time this term as they succumbed to a 3-2 derby defeat at the hands of cross-town rivals Manchester United. Pep Guardiola’s side were at one stage holding a comfortable 2-0 lead, but they appeared to switch off in the second-half where United pounced with three goals in the space of 16 minutes. Not only did the defeat hamper the momentum, but the faithful had to witness the title celebrations being prolonged for another week at the least.
Liverpool, on the other side, played out a 0-0 draw against Everton in the Merseyside derby on Saturday. Like Manchester City, the Reds boss Jurgen Klopp decided to make five changes to the starting lineup, and this reduced their usual attacking threat. As a result, the Toffees looked the most likely to find the scoresheet, and they will have cursed themselves after Cenk Tosun, Idrissa Gueye and Dominic Calvert-Lewin all came within the cusp of ending the club’s eight-year wait for a win in the derby.
Players to watch for:
Sergio Aguero – Manchester City: The Argentine made his return from a knee injury as a 76th-minute substitute in the Manchester derby. Aguero had not witnessed first-team action for more than a month, and he nearly scored the equaliser for City, barring David de Gea’s heroics. Aguero is still waiting for his 200th goal in the club’s shirt, and his involvement could be key on Tuesday, considering City wasted plenty of chances versus United. Raheem Stertling, in particular, was guilty of missing two clear-cut opportunities during the first-half, which should have killed the game.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – Liverpool: The ‘Ox’ did not have much of an influence on the Merseyside derby, but prior to that, he produced another top-notch performance versus Guardiola’s men. Oxlade-Chamberlain has grown from strength-to-strength since his arrival at Anfield last summer, and his desire to make tireless runs from the midfield is something City need to take care of. The Englishman has the ability to test the opposition goalkeeper from long range, and he popped up with a stellar 25-yard strike during the Champions League quarter-final first leg.
Following City’s defeat at Anfield, they face an uphill task of making the Champions League semi-final. The hosts should win the game but they may not necessarily clinch the tie with Liverpool more than capable of scoring on their travels.
Manchester City 3-1 Liverpool