THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE quarter-finals conclude this midweek as Liverpool look to defend their 3-0 aggregate advantage over Manchester City at The Etihad on Tuesday night. Dan McCulloch (@danmcc84) shares his best bet.
Manchester City v Liverpool | Tuesday 10th April 2018, 19:45 | BT Sport
After eight months of complete domination domestically and in Europe, it's been a bad few days for Pep Guardiola's men.
I opposed Manchester City at Anfield last weekend, but I'll be honest, I was quite worried in the opening few minutes. Leroy Sane and David Silva in particular seemed to be combining well and I definitely didn't foresee a 3-0 home victory with the Citizens failing to record a shot on-target.
Still, I don't think 3-0 was a fair reflection of the game although Liverpool fans will no doubt argue that the injury to Mo Salah forced them in to a more defensive approach in the second half.
I also believe that City were unfortunate to lose to Manchester United on Saturday evening. David De Gea – once again – was superb in the United goal, while the away sides finishing was clinical and City really should have had a penalty for Ashley Young's potentially leg-breaking challenge on Sergio Aguero.
All of this leads me to the conclusion that there is very little wrong with City's performance levels and while the 1/2 in the outright market is too skinny to entice, I do believe the Citizens will win the tie.
Goals on the agenda
I generally prefer to back unders and don't think I ever saw myself backing Over 3.5 Goals at evens (SkyBet) but I will make an exception here. City's Expected Goals were around 3.4 against United and they managed 15 goals in the five home games against other members of the Big Six.
Additionally, they are likely to start Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling alongside Sane in this game, something they were unable to do in either of their defeats. The trio have scored 64 goals between them this season and I can't see them causing the Reds defence plenty of problems.
There is no doubt the signing of Virgil Van Dijk has improved Liverpool defensively and I am aware that they have conceded just four goals in their last 10 matches. However, few teams in world football can match City's attacking prowess and it's worth noting that only Wolves – in the EFL Cup – have kept a clean sheet at The Etihad.
Liverpool also possess a great deal of attacking talent and given that City have a three goal deficit to overhaul, I fail to see anything but an open game. Backing Over 3.5 Goals at 1./1 with SkyBet therefore represents both value and a fun watch.
Sane to score
Trent Alexander-Arnold received a lot of plaudits for his display in the first leg but whilst I thought the Liverpool youngster did well up against Sane, I still felt that the German looked dangerous.
He went close on a couple of occasions and but for a marginal offside call would have supplied Gabriel Jesus with a previous away goal.
Understandably Aguero and Sterling are shorter prices with the bookies to find the net but I feel Sane represents value, once again, to score in 90 minutes at 11/5 (Paddy Power).
Manchester City v Liverpool – Over 3.5 Goals (1/1 SkyBet)
Manchester City v Liverpool – Leroy Sane to score at anytime (11/5 Paddy Power)