Klopp proving a tough foe for Guardiola
The Champions League quarter-finals take place next week and, while Barcelona and Bayern Munich look certainties to overcome Roma and Sevilla respectively, the other two games are tougher to call.
In a rematch of last season’s Champions League Finals, Real Madrid again do battle with Juventus, this time over two legs.
The Italian giants were second-best against Tottenham for much of the previous round’s matches and will have to perform far better if they are to dethrone the champions.
The Spanish side may be 15 points behind Barcelona in the La Liga title race after making a stuttering start to the season, but they appear to be hitting top form at the right time, having lost just once in 12 matches in all competitions. There is a Premier League clash in the other quarter-final, with Liverpool taking on Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola’s men will be favourite to come out on top but Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp can boast the best record of any manager to have faced Guardiola more than ten times. The managers have met on 12 occasions with different teams — Klopp has won six, Guardiola five and there has been one draw.
Expect plenty of goals, plenty of animation on the touchlines and Liverpool to hold a slender advantage after the first leg at Anfield on Wednesday.
11am kick-offs unless stated
Crystal Palace v Liverpool, 8.30am
The return of Wilfried Zaha has provided a timely boost to Crystal Palace in their fight against relegation and a high-tempo start could catch Liverpool cold if they have one eye on their big Champions League clash. Prediction: 2-1
Brighton & Hove Albion v Leicester City
Brighton are tremendous at home and their three defeats in 15 matches at The Amex Stadium have come against Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea. They will be confident of picking up another victory but may have to settle for a point if Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez are in top form. Prediction: 1-1
Manchester United v Swansea City
José Mourinho’s men may have been knocked out of Europe by Sevilla but they have a fine home record this season. They have conceded fewest home goals in the league and have lost just once — to champions-elect Manchester City — at Old Trafford. They should win quite comfortably here. Prediction: 2-0
Newcastle United v
The Geordies can take a huge step towards survival by beating their fellow relegation rivals. Huddersfield have the second-worst away record in the league after West Brom and are set to suffer their eleventh defeat on the road. A low-scoring encounter is anticipated. Prediction: 1-0
Watford v AFC Bournemouth
A difficult game to call, but preference is for the home team who have won their last three games at Vicarage Road. Prediction: 2-1
West Bromwich Albion v Burnley
West Brom have lost their last eight matches in all competitions but that run must surely come to an end soon. Burnley have had a great season but their players will surely be more focused on booking their summer holiday venues than getting the three points here. Prediction: 2-0
West Ham United v
West Ham’s players will find things difficult in this crucial relegation battle if the home supporters create another hostile atmosphere, but they have enough quality to keep Southampton’s new manager Mark Hughes waiting for his first points. Prediction: 2-1
Manchester City, 1.30
Pep Guardiola could rest some of his star men following the international break but his team should still have enough quality to beat an Everton team marking time under Sam Allardyce. Prediction: 0-2
Arsenal v Stoke City, 9.30am
Arsenal are the second-highest home scorers in the league after Manchester City and will fancy themselves to bag another hatful against a team destined for relegation. Prediction: 3-0
Tottenham Hotspur, noon
A big London derby rounds off the weekend, Chelsea can take advantage of Harry Kane’s absence through injury by closing the gap on them in the race for the final Champions League qualification spot. Prediction: 2-1
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