4/3 Recap: Yesterday’s games went according to my thoughts. Well, in a way they did. Real Madrid was able to pick up a massive victory in Turin, but it was the way they went about it. Juventus was stunned by an early Ronaldo goal and while they had chances, never fully recovered. His spectacular second sealed it in my mind, but Dybala’s second yellow did so for everybody else. Real Madrid keeping a clean sheet was most unexpected. In the other game, I was looking good on the road to a draw. Sevilla was unlucky to give up the equalizer, but in the second half even more so to give up the eventual game-winner. But I didn’t expect to have luck on my side yesterday, nor do I today. At the very least I am hoping these two quarterfinals see Liverpool stave off UCL death.
My Picks: Real Madrid 2 Juventus 1 (Both Teams Score [-120])
Bayern Munich 1 Sevilla 1 (DRAW [+350], Both Teams Score [-155])
Actual Results: Real Madrid 3 Juventus 0
Bayern Munich 2 Sevilla 1
Why can’t I just be a sane person and pick Serie A or Scottish Premiership matches? Because Liverpool plays today in this batch of Champions League quarterfinals. And if I can’t put my bias blinders on for these matches, why do this?
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Manchester City @ Liverpool (2:45 PM ET/Fox Sports 2, fuboTV, SiriusXM FC 157)
This is my main event of the quarterfinals first legs. Yesterday’s games were tremendous and I’m sure Barcelona vs Roma will produce Messi magic. But Manchester City heading to Anfield gives me legitimate goosebumps.
The two games between these two in the league couldn’t be more different. Neither team shied away from what makes them who they are, but the results were oceans apart. The first match saw a large feeling out period before Sadio Mane’s red card opened the goal floodgates for City. The match ended 5-0 and frankly, it could have been worse.
The second contest saw Liverpool jump out to the hefty advantage, only to start leaking goals late giving Scousers a nearly lethal dose of puckered butthole. They hung on for a 4-3 win, the first loss for City in the league in 2017-18.
So what do both these matches tell us about today’s showdown? THERE WILL BE GOALS. If this game ends 0-0, my brain will probably just shut off. I can’t see anything other than a pair of attacking showcases in this one, even in a first leg. I’ll continue my (mildly dumb) trend of yesterday taking the Both Teams Score prop, but I’ll also go with the over 4 goals (per Bovada) prop as well. Just ignore the bias when you look at my predicted score.
PREDICTION: Liverpool 3 Manchester City 2 (Both Teams Score [-205], Over 4 total goals [+290])
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
AS Roma @ FC Barcelona (2:45 PM ET/ESPN Deportes USA, Fox Sports 1, WatchESPN, fuboTV)
While I will have my eyes and ears glued to the game above, I won’t be able to help myself having this game somewhere in the background. Because when Lionel Messi is playing, you’d be a fool not to pay attention.
Barca finds themselves in unfamiliar territory in the quarterfinals, as they are used to having the second leg at the Camp Nou rather than the first. But today could allow them to put the tie beyond Roma’s reach before the two clubs even reach the Italian capital next week.
Barcelona was stuck in first gear against Sevilla at the weekend for 88 minutes. But having Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi in your team can turn those 88 dull minutes around with 130 seconds of majesterial footballing sorcery. Despite the oddsmakers putting Roma as a super dark horse to advance, the Blaugrana can’t be lackadaisical against the Giallorossi this afternoon.
Roma won a group with both Chelsea and Atletico Madrid in it. They held it together in Ukraine enough to get an away goal which allowed Edin Dzeko’s effort at the Stadio Olimpico to send them through to today. The Romans have been underestimated from the word go in the Champions League. Yet they find themselves in the quarterfinals with the second leg in their building. I’d be dumb to think they’ll be steamrolled today. But a lot of people have called me dumb before.
Barcelona is two-goal favorites in this one (per Bovada). I think Roma could get an away goal possibly, but their defense simply won’t be able to handle everything Barcelona will throw at it. I’ll take the Barcelona cover with a repeat of the scoreline their El Clasico rivals put forth against Italian opposition yesterday. And screw it, let’s put a couple of Messi to get on the board as well to keep pace with Ronaldo (if that’s even possible in this year’s UCL).
PREDICTION: Barcelona 3 Roma 0 (Barcelona -2 goals [-105], Lionel Messi scores [-175])
If you have any games you’d like me to pick over the rest of the week, 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. Also, here is a link for my results throughout and the points system. Cheers!