3/5 Recap: Some people like to make picks and then just walk away. Let the events play out. See the results at the end. I am not one of those people. Yesterday’s matches raised the old blood pressure up a few notches ahead of midweek Champions League fixtures. Both Manchester United and Celta Vigo left it incredibly late to garner victories in their respective matches. Pablo Hernandez rewarded Iago Aspas’ industry with an 89th-minute winner past the Las Palmas keeper (and two defensive heads). Nemanja Matic hit an absolute laser past Wayne Hennessey to snatch the full three points in stoppage time at Selhurst Park. After 180 combined minutes of uninspired football from both sides, I’ll take a push and a win (with the correct score!) any day.
3/5 Results: My picks: Manchester United 2 Crystal Palace 0 (Manchester United -1)
Celta Vigo 2 Las Palmas 1 (Las Palmas +1.5)
Actual Results: Manchester United 3 Crystal Palace 2
Celta Vigo 2 Las Palmas 1
Now cue up the Championssssssssssssssssss for today’s picks.
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
FC Porto @ Liverpool FC (2:45 PM ET/Fox Sports 2, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN, fuboTV, SiriusXM FC 157)
As a supporter of Liverpool for over a decade now, I can’t begin to describe how that 5-0 win in Porto felt. It brought back so many fantastic memories of Champions League performances past. But this is unfamiliar territory for this crop of Reds, and I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
Liverpool is all but through to the next round of the Champions League on the back of those five away goals. But now the task at hand is to leave Anfield ambulatory ahead of this weekend’s PL clash with second-place Manchester United at Old Trafford. I don’t think Jurgen Klopp will put a super weak squad on the pitch, but his men aren’t going to be the balls to the wall attacking unit we’ve all grown to love during the 2017-18 campaign.
And this is why I hate picking Liverpool games. The struggle between my head and my heart bubbles to the surface and objectivity takes an unwarranted backseat. My heart says that even with nothing to play for, Liverpool isn’t going to change their stripes in their own house. My head retorts that Porto can go all out tonight with only a league game against cellar dwellers Pacos de Ferreira this weekend. Screw it, heart wins. I’m taking the Reds giving a full goal, but the under on total goals (per Bovada).
PREDICTION: Liverpool 2 Porto 0
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Real Madrid @ Paris Saint-Germain (2:45 PM ET/Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports Deportes, fuboTV, SiriusXM Fox Sports 83)
While the first match of the day is a formality, the day’s second UCL contest is far from it. So much is at stake at the Parc des Princes, with past and future legacies firmly hanging in the balance.
Real Madrid became the first repeat European title winner of the Champions League era last season. It was their third title in four seasons. An impressive feat no doubt, but even more so with this year’s events. Real have struggled domestically by their overly ambitious standards and were dumped out of the Copa del Rey by Leganes. But the Champions League is where they’ve shined. Outside of Spurs, no team has been able to handle Los Blancos for 90 minutes in the UCL, especially PSG.
I say 90 minutes because PSG actually looked as if they were going to leave the Santiago Bernabeu with a vital road goal and a share of the spoils through the game’s first 80 minutes. But the final ten minutes saw the Parisians crumble for the umpteenth time and face having to beat Real by two without conceding in the French capital. I can see Paris winning, especially with the form that forgotten man Angel di Maria is in, but I just cannot see that patchwork defense keeping out BBC and the rest of the overwhelming Madrid attack. I’m taking Paris giving a half a goal (per Bovada), but Madrid scores, and probably does it late, to advance and turn Paris into the city of darkness.
PREDICTION: Paris Saint-Germain 2 Real Madrid 1
I hope you come back tomorrow for more picks from the premier club competition in the world. If you have any games you’d like me to pick you can contact me on Twitter @TREVORutley. In addition to the available media listed for each game, be sure to try out our Gameview service while watching as well. Cheers!