CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DRAW: Starsport’s expert writers take a look at the best and worst case scenarios for Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham in the Champions League quarter-final draw.
AVOID: The bookies have City clear favourites to go and lift the trophy – that says it all.
Pep Guardiola’s men have everything on their side, except history but that could be about to be re-written.
Let’s face it, there’s not a side left in the competition who would choose to be paired with them.
They would be top of all the other seven’s ‘avoid’ list and with good reason.
But even the toughest guy in the schoolyard has someone he’d rather not pick on and for that reason I think City would perhaps prefer to get one of their fellow English clubs and avoid Barcelona or the newly named ‘Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus’, formerly known as merely Juve.
WANT: Every single club left in the draw just has to be hoping and praying they get Porto.
It’s not just a nice city to visit but the Portuguese side are, to quote a phrase, the weakest link.
Porto are more bet silly than bet savvy. The bookies make them 66/1 shots which in an eight-horse race is as good as being declared lame.
The clearest indicator of where they stand is to look at the other big outsider Ajax.
The Dutch side finished above Benfica in their group and The Eagles are currently neck and neck with Porto in the race for their domestic title.
AVOID: Depends on whether you’ve bought into the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the new messiah myth.
You’ve got to question their players as a group after the contrast in the way they are now playing under a new boss.
Paul Pogba world class? He clearly thinks so, but I’m not so sure. He’s good, but not that good. Romelu Lukaku? Not fit to lace the boots of Europe’s great players.
United would probably do best to avoid everyone bar Ajax and Porto because you could see them tripping up.
Ole might be at the wheel but there’s a crash waiting to happen somewhere and it might just be in Europe.
WANT: Porto, see above
AVOID: You get the feeling Jurgen Klopp’s men would possibly do well to avoid the intensity of an all-English tie as they battle to win the Premier League as well.
Going full throttle against tried and tested foes with a Champions League semi-final place at stake might put too many miles on the clock.
Klopp really needs Mo Salah to get back to his sparkling best if they are to go on and win the big one.
The prospect of seeing Salah on the same stage as Cristiano Ronaldo would have set the pulses racing last season, but right now there would be one clear winner.
The mere presence of the majestic Ronaldo is enough for any team to want to steer clear of Juve.
WANT: Anyone, but Juventus or City
AVOID: Poch’s boys would surely prefer to steer clear of any of the Anglo pack.
Barcelona or Juventus would really be plum draws in terms of providing mouth-watering ties, but neither is an opponent you’d pick out at this stage.
Tottenham are sixth favourites of the eight so if the bookies have got that right – then Harry Kane and Co should have their fingers and toes crossed that they get Porto or Ajax.
If Spurs are going to go any further they might need the luck of the draw to give them a helping hand and see where they go from there.
WANT: Porto or Ajax