Champions League quarter-finals: tie-by-tie analysis

We run the rule over the last-eight matches, including the all-Premier League duel between Liverpool and Manchester City, and predict who will triumph

Liverpool v Manchester City

Liverpool are the only side to beat City in the league this season and stand alongside Wigan as one of only two teams to have defeated City in games that had something riding on them. That match at Anfield in January highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of the two sides. At the time it was a game between the team with the best home defensive record in the league and the side with the best away defensive record, and yet nobody was surprised when it finished 4-3. Liverpool, although they eventually lost 5-0, had also troubled City at the Etihad earlier in the season when Sadio Mané was sent off for a high foot on Ederson with the score at 1-0. Both teams press high up the pitch, are heavily focused on attack and, while they can overwhelm sides, the sense is that if you can get beyond the press to attack them they can be vulnerable. Jürgen Klopp has said that to sit deep against a team such as City is to hope to win the lottery, and the effectiveness of his proactive approach is perhaps seen in the fact that no manager has a better record against Pep Guardiola than him: 12 previous meetings have brought him six wins and a draw.

Verdict Manchester City

Barcelona v Roma

This Barcelona are not the side of 2009-11, nor even the team of 2015, but they do have a knack of not losing. Since being roundly outplayed across two games of the Spanish Super Cup by Real Madrid, they have lost once in all competitions and that was to Espanyol in the first leg of a Copa del Rey quarter-final they ended up winning. The last-16 tie against Chelsea, though, suggested a surprising vulnerability, one that makes it hard to understand how they have conceded only six goals at home in the league this season. Sergio Busquets, who is doubtful anyway with a broken toe, may remain a fine distributor and reader of the game but what little pace he had has deserted him and the installation of Ivan Rakitic as a central midfield partner in a 4-4-2 has not offered him protection he perhaps needs. The sight of Willian tearing through open space in the first leg should encourage any opponent. Set against that is the ongoing ruthlessness of Lionel Messi. The suggestion is that Roma are better playing on the break than when they have to take the game to an opponent – they have let in only eight goals away from home in the league this season – but this will be a huge ask of Eusebio Di Francesco’s side.

Verdict Barcelona

Sevilla v Bayern Munich

Jupp Heynckes has won a record 11 successive Champions League games. In three previous seasons managing in the competition he has always reached at least the final. In Jérôme Boateng and Mats Hummels he has probably the best central defensive pairing in the last eight, a duo who are complementary and have played together for years. The question, as ever with Bayern, is how hardened they are for the fight when they stand 20 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga but the 3-1 victory at home to PSG (admittedly a PSG side who had already qualified) at the end of the group stage suggested the capacity to play a more balanced game than they have to week-to-week. That said, their approach against Sevilla should probably be tilted to attack. In 12 games under Vincenzo Montella, Sevilla have conceded five on three occasions. There is vulnerability, even if the games against Manchester United showed how dangerous they can be, particularly if Wissam Ben Yedder, who has scored more goals in the competition this term than anybody other than Cristiano Ronaldo, is back in form, and if Éver Banega is given space to create the play.

Verdict Bayern Munich

Juventus v Real Madrid

This is a repeat of last season’s Champions League final (and the 1998 final) but neither team feel quite the same as they did in Cardiff. Although Juve eventually had the wherewithal and ruthlessness to beat Tottenham, there were long spells of that last-16 tie in which the Premier League side looked quicker, sharper and stronger. Perhaps that is less of an issue here given Madrid will not press Juve in anything like the same way, not least because the restricted movement of Ronaldo means they cannot. Ronaldo’s sphere of on-pitch influence gets smaller by the season; his continued capacity to score goals is not in doubt but the question is always at what cost to team structure. Madrid have had an indifferent season, lying third in la Liga and finishing second in their group after taking a single point from Tottenham but the abandonment of the familiar 4-3-1-2 for a 4-4-2, with Casemiro and Mateo Kovacic in the centre with Lucas Vázquez and Marco Asensio wide hinted at a possible future. Leaving out Luka Modric and Toni Kroos makes it harder to control possession but the width should mean a steadier supply of crosses for Ronaldo.

Verdict Real Madrid