Liverpool’s win over Arsenal at the weekend was a false dawn, and that was demonstrated in their 3-1 Champions League quarter-final first leg defeat at Real Madrid.
I don’t think anyone jumped afterwards to conclusions that ‘Liverpool are back’. What you saw at the weekend was a decent team go up against a side which is mentally and physically weak.
That gave them confidence going to Spain, and that’s exactly what Jurgen Klopp would have been hoping for. But when they got there, against a relatively poor Real squad compared to previous seasons, they allowed themselves to be bullied and outplayed, and were very poor defensively.
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You can’t keep going on about not having Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Jordan Henderson. You have to look at other reasons. I’m sure Real Madrid could have said they didn’t have all their best players, too.
Clubs have squads, and both these two have the resources to stack them full of quality players so that when they’re called upon, they can step up. People want to be at these clubs.
You’d expect Liverpool’s back-up players to grab this opportunity, play out of their skin, but while they’re struggling defensively, you’ve also got players who are performing at no-where near the level they were last season and you have to question their mentality.
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Have they got the same appetite that they had during previous seasons? Maybe not. Does the manager show too much emotion on the touchline? It’s hard to say. But this is a poor, poor Liverpool and well below the standards they’ve been setting in the last few years.
You can hark back to what they did last season, but you still want something to chew on when it’s gone. At this moment, Liverpool haven't got anything and they've got a lot more that they need to spit out, because this is leaving a bad taste in their mouth this season.
If they can somehow turn this around, people will be asking questions about why they’ve not been able to produce performances like that all season. In normal circumstances, with a crowd at Anfield, I’d back them to do it, but I don’t think they can do what they did against Barcelona this time.
City will go through against shaky Dortmund
I’m backing Manchester City to go through, after they saw off Borussia Dortmund 2-1. I like watching Dortmund, but they are so, so inconsistent.
German sides concede goals for fun because they keep playing a high line. They all seem to follow the same tactics and they're all making the same mistakes.
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They are good, but they can be very bad as well. City go there with a lead, but the away goal is a bit of a concern. You just know, though, that City will score.
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In normal circumstances, I would have looked at this the other way, and said Man City will go out and Liverpool will go through, just because of what they’ve done in previous seasons when crowds may have got on their back and put them under pressure.
But I think City will reach the semi-finals, and may even go on another unbeaten run until the end of the season.
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