Liverpool in the Champions League Quarter Final Draw
Barcelona, Real Madrid, Sevilla, Juventus, Roma, Bayern Munich, Manchester City. And Liverpool. With the final eight in the 2017-18 Champions League decided and into the quarter final draw for Friday, we asked the staff of The Liverpool Offside for their thoughts on what comes next, whether there’s a draw they’re hoping for or one they want to avoid, and what their expectations are now that Liverpool have made it this far.
We’ve already played Sevilla and Manchester City twice this season, and the excitement of the Champions League lies in the arrival of European giants at Anfield. Catalans, Galacticos, Bavarians, Romans, Old Ladies—bring me the lot! I also like our chances against at least three of those five based on style of play and individual player matchups.
That said, I think Bayern are probably the worst matchup of the bunch for us, so all things considerd I’d rather avoid them at this juncture—though I suspect we’ll have to face them at some point if we are to go all the way.
This likely sounds suicidal, but I’m up for any of the big names save maybe Bayern. Both Madrid and Barcelona can be deadly, but both seem at least a little bit susceptible at the back. And considering our squad stood toe-to-toe against City in one of the best matches of the year so, I like our chances against either.
That’s not to say, though, that I expect us to stomp on the opposition! Just that, well, you come to the Champions League to be crowned the best of the best. And to trot out an old cliche, you have to take out the best to be the best. This year’s squad, though perhaps thin on experience and a little less solid at the back than the rest of the field, has a belief and confidence that belies their weaknesses. They welcome the challenge of being tested by the best and don’t really shrink in those challenges. And then there’s the attack.
So bring on the heavy hitters. Give me Zizou’s glamourous but tragically flawed Madrid or a chance to show Luis and Phil what they’ve missed by skipping off to Barcelona. Maybe the opportunity to pepper Roma’s Alisson with so many shots he demands a Merseyside move to in order to avoid a repeat experience. Whatever, just give Klopp’s Reds the opportunity to be measured against the best.
And, if it’s not too much, give us—especially the fans that have only come in of late—a taste of a proper Special European Night at Anfield™.
I might be the odd one out here, but I’m all aboard the “Let’s Finally Get Revenge on Sevilla” train. They’re probably the best draw for Liverpool—on paper, style-wise, and narrative-wise. Of all the teams remaining, they’re furthest down their respective league, in 5th, 9 points behind 4th-place Valencia and just 2 points ahead of 7th-place Girona. As we’ve seen, they are not the kind of team to sit back and park the bus, and we know that we can get to them (to the tune of 5 goals over two legs in the group stages). And of course, we want that sweet, sweet revenge.
I know many want a “Glory Match-Up.” I get the allure. But personally, I want the draw that is going to, A) give us the best chance of advancing and, B) create other match-ups that will eliminate some of the toughest teams we could possibly draw. Thanks to the Round of 16 draw, we are comfortably through to the quarterfinals and not worried about drawing PSG, Tottenham, or Manchester United (unlucky). I would happily take the easiest possible draw this round, and (Fowler-willing) the next.
Real Madrid would be the dream. It would be as high-profile a European night at Anfield as it gets, but it would also be a tie that’s there to be had. Zinedine Zidane is finally starting to pull the holders out of their spiraling season, but this lethal Liverpool attack would be licking their chops at the prospect of taking on a still-brittle Madrid defensive line.
Tangential bonuses to this matchup would include giving desirable fringe players at the Bernbeu like of Dani Ceballos, Isco (*drool*), and Mateo Kovačić a chance to experience firsthand what playing for Jürgen Klopp could be like. Though on the flip side it could also potentially supercharge ol’ Florentino Perez’s burgeoning desire for the mighty Mo Salah.
As an alternative, Roma would also be an ideal matchup for the combination of (relative) ease, excitement potential, and the chance for an up close transfer target audition. Let’s avoid Juventus if we can, hold off on Barcelona until the semis, and put out a restraining order on Sevilla that requires them to stay 1000ft away from Anfield at all times.
Barcelona. Let’s rip that band-aid off and be done with that narrative as quickly as possible, one way or another. It’s just going to be looming over everything until one or both of us are out of the tournament anyway. And I’d love to blow a kiss to Phil as he watches uselessly from the stands.
Aside from that, please let’s not see Sevilla or Manchester City again. Bayern Munich and Juventus worry me the most. Roma would potentially be fun, as would Real Madrid. But what I really want is the chance to beat Barca.
A lot of people out there in internetland want the easiest possible draw for Liverpool, but I’m sat here feeling two things that don’t line up with that. One is that I’m oddly confident about this side’s ability to match up with any big side that doesn’t park the bus, which is a category the likes of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, and Barcelona all—as good as they clearly are—fall into. And two is I’m bloody sick of Sevilla and don’t want to face them yet again.
Put those together and my main desire for the draw on Friday is to not get Sevilla since it feels like we’ve played them a few times every year of late—and also to avoid Manchester City since we actually do face them at least twice a year. Liverpool’s best eleven can go toe-to-toe with anyone, and I want a marquee matchup, an interesting matchup, something that feels like a proper late-stage Champions League tie and a trip the supporters haven’t done in recent years.
Bring on Roma, with all the narrative goodness of Mo Salah facing his former team and Alisson facing his potential future employers. Bring on Real Madrid and a chance to do to the defending champions what big spenders PSG couldn’t. Bring on Barcelona and shots of Phil, ineligible and sat in the crowd. Bring on Bayern and a chance for Klopp to knock off his former domestic rivals. Bring on Juventus, even—who, let’s not forget, Spurs looked better than over two legs.
I don’t care who, really, just bring them on. But also if it could be someone other than Sevilla or City and with the second leg at Anfield that’d be swell.