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Champions League Semi-Finals


After one of the greatest Champions League Quarter Finals in the history of the competition, we are now left with Spurs, Ajax, Liverpool and Barcelona to battle it out for a place in the final.

Spurs came out on top against Man City in what has gone down as one of the greats matches in the history of the Champions League.

From nonstop goalmouth action to Hugo Llorente is it, is it not a goal and a last-minute disallowed goal from Sterling that would have sent Man City through to the Semi Final. If there was a movie made about it, it would be hard to believe that this actually happened. But, in the end, the fight that Spurs showed was just enough to get them to the semi-final despite losing 4-3 (4-4) on the night, but the precious away goals sealed their passage to the semi-final.

Who said VAR would ruin the game?

Then we took a trip to Turin where the young boys of Ajax put to rest the old lady that is Juventus in another thriller. With Ronaldo powerless against Ajax in the second leg, they seem like they are playing with no fear, and a team with no fear is a team to be feared.

Barcelona and Liverpool had a more straight forward passage to the semi-finals with comfortable wins over Man Utd and Porto.

Barcelona came out 3-0 winners on the night and 4-0 winners on aggregate, while Liverpool went into Porto with a 2-goal lead and finished the job in fine style with a 4-1 (6-1) win on the night.

After all the dust has settled, we will see Tottenham v Ajax and Barcelona take on Liverpool.

 

Tottenham v Ajax

Tottenham v Ajax Header
For all that Ajax have knocked out the current holders Real Madrid and now Juventus you still have to think that this might be a step too far. The reason I say this is because Spurs are defensively very solid and play an extremely effective counter-attacking game. With the way that Ajax set up, it looks like Tottenham can take full advantage off Ajax all-out attack play with quick counter-attacks.

Ajax’s lack of fear that youth brings to the table and let’s be quite honest they have been a joy to watch over the last few weeks with that style of play. The talent in their squad is unquestionable with the likes of De Ligt, Van De Beek, Tadic and old timer Blind who brings a world-class experience to the table they are sure not to go down without a fight.

Spurs are a team with strength and depth throughout their squad as they have shown since the injury of their star striker Harry Keane. With the added pressure of being the main striker and goal scoring talisman, Son has stepped up to the plate and took it all in his stride with some unbelievable performances when his team really needed him. Son will be missing for the first leg through suspension and that will be a huge loss to Spurs on the night.

Is Lucas Mora capable of spearheading the team or will Pochettino call upon the semi-final goalscoring hero in Lorrainte. Either way, they will need to leave the New White Heat Lane with some kind of lead going into the second leg in Amsterdam.

Over the two legs, I think that Spurs will have too much for the young Ajax team and will be contesting their most historic game in the clubs history where they will meet either Barcelona or Liverpool.

 

Barcelona v Liverpool

Barca v Liverpool Header
Arguably the two most in-form teams in Europe will clash on May 1st where Barcelona will play host to Liverpool at Camp Nou, in what is sure to be one of the ties of the year.

Can Virgil Van Dyke leave the memories of his last visit to the Camp Nou when was run ragged by Messi and co while playing for Celtic? Yes, he is by far a better player today and one of the best defenders in the world but at the end of the day Messi strikes fear into the best defenders in the world, and such is the importance of Van Dyke to Liverpool if he does not perform on the night it’s going to be a long night for the Merseyside team.

Liverpool’s attack has been extremely effective in this year’s Champions League, and with them, on the back of a comfortable victory over Porto in the Quarter Final, they will come into this with no fear when trying to make it back to back final appearances.

With Mo Salah, Bobby Firmino and Mane spearheading their attack, Pique and co will have to be on top form to keep them at bay. If Barca frustrates Liverpool’s attacking play which I think they will with the Barca midfield looking far superior to Liverpool’s. Yes, Henderson, Miller, Keita and Wijnaldum are fine players, but they lack the class the Rakitic, Busquets and former Liverpool star Coutinho bring to the table. If they lose the midfield battle, I think it will be very hard for Liverpool to topple the Catalan giants.

At the end of the day, if we are, to be honest, this will all come down to is Messi is on a going day. If Messi is on fire no defence in the world can contain him and this is before we take into account Luis Suarez coming back to haunt the fans that loved him so much when dawning the red of Liverpool.

If this tie was just over one leg then I would give Liverpool a huge chance of winning, but the fact it is over two legs I cannot see Liverpool keeping Messi and co out for long and it will make it much more difficult if Liverpool do not come out of the Camp Nou with a precious away goal.

All in all, I cannot see Messi and co coming out of the two legs against Liverpool and not been in the 2019 Champions League Final.

 

 

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