Manchester City and Liverpool success could announce England’s return in European football
Manchester City and Liverpool both battled through their quarter-final matches to reach the last four of the Champions League and Europa League, respectively.
City put in two fine performances to dump French champions Paris Saint-Germain out of Europe’s elite competition to advance to the semis for the first time in their history.
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 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.
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.
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 will not suffice against Real, and his side will have to elevate the level of their games to an even higher standard than their displays in the quarter-finals.
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, with the players 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, with it being 11 years removed from 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, with Dejan Lovren netting 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 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 to spark further success under Klopp, which makes it instrumental that they go all the way to secure the trophy.