The draw for the quarterfinals of the Champions League took place early this morning for us folks in the States. I’m not going to lie I did not wake up to watch this. I will wake up at 5am to watch actual matches but a draw is not on the short list of things that will get me up at 7am, so when I woke up, I woke up to the news that our beloved Reds drew Manchester City.
No two ways about it, this is exciting. If you think back to the 4-3 win over City at Anfield it was about as exhilarating of a two hours of football you could ever dream of, especially for myself and fellow Reds fans all over the world, but it was also the type of game that probably shortened my life span as the 4-1 lead shrunk to 4-3 in the final moments.
I’ll do a massive preview for this game and all over the Champions League games when the time comes, but I don’t want to get all into everything at this point mostly due to things can change in a couple weeks with injuries, form, and anything else that could affect these quarterfinals before they happen.
But my thoughts about getting City. If I were to rank the teams I wanted in order i probably would have gone something like this:
- Real Madrid
- Manchester City
- Bayern Munich
Roma or Sevilla was who I wanted I know some fans wanted us to get one of the best. I respect that mentality, but at the same time I want to continue as long as we can and the odds to beat Roma or Sevilla would have just increased our odds, we would have been favorites to move on against either one of those sides and I would have had all the confidence in the world we would have moved on if we had got either one of those sides.
The next two on the list Juventus and Real Madrid I would have felt like it was a coin flip tie. I would have felt confident we can beat either one, but I would have put our chances of doing so at about 50/50 and realistically I was actually rooting for this. I know they say it’s a draw and there aren’t any shenanigans but deep down inside I felt that there was no way in hell we were getting Sevilla or Roma so i was hoping for one of these two. Juventus is vulnerable despite the run of 23 unbeaten they are on in all competitions. I think we match up really well against them, but the footy gods did not want us to ruin their season. Real Madrid is just a weird team on their best day they can obviously beat anyone, but as everyone knows this team is not having their best season. They have had tons of injuries and they have been very inconsistent, mostly due to those injuries, but also a team that has been off defensively and whoever they play up front has been hot and cold finding the net. I think with our front 3 and now having Virgil van Dijk I think we actually matchup very well against them.
By not getting one of those 4 teams that I felt like we could beat, it leaves us with the Final 3 of Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Manchester City who we ultimately ended up with. I’m just going to tell it straight I did not want to get any of these 3. I feel like we are going to be large underdogs. Not saying we can’t do it. I think we are a top 5 or 6 team in Europe on our best day, but this is obviously going to be quite the challenge. Having to do it over 180 minutes makes it that much more difficult and playing the first leg at home to me makes it that much harder I would have preferred to have the second leg at home. Taking my heart out of this I ultimately think the winner comes out of this group. I really don’t think I am going out on much of a limb with this take. I actually picked City to win this competition so in my mind we are going against the best team in Europe here. The positive is we have shown we can beat these guys, and we really outplayed them badly. The bad news is City is awesome and we had to play a perfect game almost that day to do what we did and also have City make some mistakes regardless if those mistakes came from our pressure or not those are mistakes this team doesn’t normally make.
More bad news to me is that we did beat them already, in fact we’re the only team to beat them other than Wigan Athletic who knocked them out of the FA Cup in miraculous fashion, but it wasn’t exactly their full team that faced Wigan either. But the reason I say this is bad news is to me Pep Guardiola is the best manager currently walking this earth and he will have learned from all the mistakes they made in the last meeting and make sure they don’t happen again.
Either way I can’t wait. From an excitement standpoint it probably doesn’t get better than this. I really think that LIverpool and Man City have the two best attacks in the world and the two most exciting teams to watch, so for a neutral this is a dream matchup, this has the makings of an all time classic and from a biased Reds perspective how sweet would it be to ruin City’s chance at the treble and keep them from having what is basically shaping up as the perfect season especially if they win this to go along with their League Championship and Carabao Cup triumph. Do i think it will be tough? Yes, but it’s supposed to be tough at this stage. Do I think Liverpool is going to win? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean we can’t. And the familiarity against them will make it feel normal and not feel like we’re not on such a big stage which is a good thing it should help the players go into this feeling comfortable. But doesn’t this feel right, playing against maybe the best team in Europe in the Champions League, these are the types of matches that Liverpool has made their name of over the course of history, so here is to making more history.