Liverpool are in the pot for Friday’s Champions League quarter-final draw, but who should be considered the Reds’ ideal opponent in the next round?
Jurgen Klopp‘s side strolled through the last 16 of Europe’s top-tier tournament with a 5-0 aggregate victory over Porto.
That was a major statement of intent from Liverpool, making light work of their Portuguese opposition in the first leg at the Estadio do Dragao and seeing out the result at Anfield.
Now they are into the quarter-finals, with the possibility of facing any of Real Madrid, Juventus, Man City, Sevilla, AS Roma, Barcelona or Bayern Munich.
So who should the Reds be hoping for when the draw gets underway at 11am (GMT) on Friday?
JACK LUSBY: AS Roma
When Liverpool beat Porto so convincingly in the first leg, and attentions had already turned to possible quarter-final opponents, Roma’s clash with Shakhtar was commonly accepted as the ‘easy’ tie.
Roma just scraped through by virtue of the away-goals rule and a red card for Shakhtar on Tuesday night, and they are still arguably the most comfortable of opponents.
Eusebio Di Francesco’s squad includes some impressive names, like Alisson, Radja Nainggolan, Kevin Strootman, Edin Dzeko and Cengiz Under, but I’d back us to outclass them over two legs.
I’d be happy with drawing any of the seven sides, but Roma would give us a great chance of making the semis.
Also it’d give Karius a chance to prove he’s a match for Alisson, and a reunion for Salah can once again highlight how much we fleeced Roma in the summer.
MATT LADSON: Barcelona
Barcelona for me. It’s a quarter-final so a big European opponent feels right. It would be the tie of the round.
But also we can definitely beat Barca over two legs, and beating them would give us massive confidence in the short and longer term. It would show we are back among Europe’s best.
Chelsea created lots of chances at the Nou Camp in the second leg and I’m confident we’d take them.
It would send a message to potential signings this summer too, everyone will be watching.
The sub-plot of Luis Suarez back at Anfield adds to the occasion, as does, of course, getting one over Philippe Coutinho‘s new team so soon after his forced move away.
And who doesn’t fancy a trip to Barcelona in April? It’s what being in Europe is all about.
EMMA SANDERS: Juventus
A tie with Juventus would be ideal—with Roma and Sevilla drawing each other at the same time.
If Liverpool can beat Juventus and meet either Roma or Sevilla in the semi-finals that would be a terrific draw.
Juve have experience—which they showed against Spurs—but they also lack a cutting edge which Real, City, Barcelona and Bayern all possess.
We want to avoid those four teams for as long as possible.
KARL MATCHETT: Bayern Munich
It really doesn’t matter too much at this stage—everybody is going to be good—but I think Bayern would be a draw which provides a mix of opportunity to progress and a genuinely top-tier test to see exactly where this Liverpool team are.
They didn’t look good in pre-season and early on, but have bounced back well under Heynckes.
But it’s still not elite, best-era Bayern right now, with quite a few injuries to key players throughout the season, no Manuel Neuer and a rotating cast in midfield.
Having the domestic league wrapped early has worked against them previously too, so it would be such an intriguing tie on so many levels.
And if the Reds did progress there would be no possibility of anyone suggesting they hadn’t beaten an absolutely top-drawer side en route to the semis.
HENRY JACKSON: Sevilla
United managed to make them look good in hilarious fashion on Tuesday, but this is not a great Sevilla team by any means, even though they have undoubted European pedigree.
On top of that, Liverpool owe them for the Europa League final in 2016, and the two draws in the group stage this season, both of which the Reds should’ve won comfortably.
If it can’t be Sevilla, then Roma would be fine too.
Champions League Quarter-Final Draw Details
- Real Madrid
- Man City
- AS Roma
- Bayern Munich
Draw begins at 11am (UK) on Friday.
The ties will be played on April 3/4 and April 10/11.
The team drawn first from the pot will play the first leg at home, with those drawn second starting away.