Wednesday 21 August 2019

What time, what channel and our verdicts on this week's Champions League quarter-finals

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during training. Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during training. Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

The Champions League quarter-finals are upon us and here is your Independent.ie guide to the four big games this week, with all matches kicking off at 8pm:

TUESDAY

TOTTENHAM v MANCHESTER CITY (Virgin Media One)

The sparkling images emerging from Tottenham’s incredible new stadium as it belatedly opened for business last Wednesday provided an enticing glimpse of the raucous passion Manchester City will face when they take on Mauricio Pochettino’s side in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.

City may be firm favourites to progress over the two legs, but Spurs will dare to believe the advantage of having a six-day break ahead of the tie will give them an advantage over Pep Guardiola side, who played in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley last night.

One to watch: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)

The Tottenham captain made a crucial mistake to hand Liverpool a victory at Anfield last Sunday and his uncertain form could hand City an away goal in the first leg of this tie.

Verdict: An inspired Tottenham to secure a first-leg lead, but City will score.

LIVERPOOL v PORTO (RTE 2, Virgin Media Sport)

Liverpool hit the jackpot when they landed a quarter-final tie against a side they demolished in the knock-out stages of last season’s Champions League, with the re-match offering the potential for another one-sided contest.

Sergio Conceicao’s side are involved in a tense Portuguese title race with Benfica, with Klopp eager to ensure competency is not an issue for his team after they beat the same opponents 5-0 away from home last season. “Porto were not on my ‘wish list’, but now they are our opponent, it is how it is and we have to play them,” said the Liverpool boss. “They will be keen to change the result from last season.

One to watch: Moussa Marega (Porto)

This Mali international striker has been in sparkling form in the Champions League this season and will be a threat at Anfield.

Verdict: Liverpool to establish a strong first-leg advantage.

WEDNESDAY

MANCHESTER UNITED v BARCELONA (Virgin Media Sport)

The cracks were beginning to show in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United revival before last Tuesday’s Premier League defeat at Wolves and they could be widened if Lionel Messi and Spanish champions-elect Barcelona turn on the style at Old Trafford.

Messi’s incredible form has carried Barca once again this season, but they have looked vulnerable defensively and were fortunate to escape with a 4-4 draw after two late goals in a crazy game at Villarreal last Tuesday.

One to watch: Luis Suarez (Barcelona)

The return to Old Trafford of a former Liverpool player who was embroiled in a nasty spat with United defender Patrice Evra back in 2011 is bound to spark a few unfortunate memories.

Verdict: A scoring draw that will suit Barcelona.

AJAX v JUVENTUS (Virgin Media One)

After pulling off one of the great results in modern Champions League history to beat Real Madrid 4-1 away from home in the last round, Erik ten Hag’s side now face the unenviable task of trying to quell the player the outgoing European champions were clearly missing on their dark night at the Bernabeu.

Cristiano Ronaldo carried Juve past Atletico Madrid in the last round with a stunning second-leg hat-trick and the player who always rises to the occasion in this competition will be eager to shine once again.

One to watch: Dusan Tadic (Ajax)

This Serbian midfielder struggled to make his mark in the Premier League during a spell with Southampton, but he turned in a majestic display against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in the last round of the Champions League.

Verdict: Juventus to record an away win.

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