Would European trophy success for both Man City and Liverpool signal a return to the top table of European football for the English clubs?
Man City and Liverpool both battled through their quarter-final matches to reach the last four of the 2016 Champions League and Europa League, respectively.
Can Man City and Liverpool achieve European success this season?
Jurgen Klopp’s men produced a miracle at Anfield to battle back from two goals at half-time to defeat Borussia Dortmund 4-3. Which secured their spot in the last four of the Europa League
Both teams have a tough road ahead of them to achieve glory. But both have the quality in their squads needed to pull off the feats, with odds at bet365 at the time of writing for a double at 21.31/1.
City face the hardest road to success against their former nemesis, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Real Madrid. Before facing the prospect of either future manager Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich side, or the dogged Atletico Madrid in the final.
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In the latest Champions League odds, Manuel Pellegrini’s men are backed at 15/2 to secure their first crown. Which, given their performances against the top teams in past years, is hardly surprising.
The club have a losing record against Real, but have only played the Bernabeu giants twice in their history.
City will need to improve on their last performance against Real
Goals from Ronaldo, Marcelo and Karim Benzema were enough to see off a spirited City side at the Bernabeu in a 3-2 defeat in 2012. While the teams played out a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture at the Etihad Stadium.
Pellegrini will know that a repeat performance of the quarter-finals will not suffice against Real.
His side will have to elevate the level of their games to an even higher standard than those displays.
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The Chilean has experience of managing Real and playing against them, which will stand City in good stead.
Meanwhile, their tactics in both legs of their triumph over PSG were spot on. And the players are aware that three similar masterstrokes from themselves and their manager will see them both secure a historic success to send Pellegrini off in style.
Liverpool are no strangers to European glory. Although it’s 11 years since their magical night in Istanbul when they lifted their fifth Champions League crown.
The Reds produced similar heroics from that night to stage a fightback from two goals down at Anfield to defeat Borussia Dortmund 4-3. Dejan Lovren netted a dramatic last-minute winner.
Klopp’s side are at 13/8 to clinch the competition for the sixth time in their history. Although this year could be the most important victory.
One fierce obstacle that may stand in their way are holders Sevilla. Who have won the trophy for the past two seasons.
Although, the club will have to first battle their way through Villarreal before a potential clash with Unai Emery’s team.
Liverpool are still struggling in the Premier League
Liverpool are unlikely to break into the top four of the Premier League this season. With just four matches remaining in their campaign to seal the final Champions League place.
However, the Reds now have the opportunity to seal their spot by winning the Europa League. Which could see them qualify automatically for the group stages of the elite competition, pending City’s finish to their domestic and European campaigns.
The club are a work in progress under Klopp since the German’s arrival in October. But securing a place in the Champions League could speed up the project.
The riches and lure would allow Liverpool to attract a higher calibre of players over the summer. This in turn could spark further success under Klopp.
This makes it instrumental that they go all the way to secure the trophy.