The penultimate match-day of the UEFA Champions League is here, and a place in the showpiece final beckons for the last 4 contenders.
Ajax enter the return leg with an advantage, having earned a crucial 1-0 away win against Spurs. It’s an uphill battle for Mauricio Pochettino’s men, who also faltered in domestic action, losing to Bournemouth. However, they will welcome the return of Heung-Min Son from suspension and will be on full throttle to try to turn a tie that represents their last chance at silverware this season.
Barcelona on the other hand have one foot firmly planted in the final by virtue of a dominating 3-0 home win against Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp’s men acquitted themselves well but were undone by the magic of Lionel Messi. With Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah ruled out through injury, Pool face a seemingly insurmountable task in front of the Kop.
Here are the fixtures for this week’s UCL Semifinals:
Tuesday 7th May
- Liverpool vs Barcelona
Wednesday 8th May
- Ajax vs Tottenham
The Cameroonian was a dominant aerial force in the first leg, picking off countless Spurs crosses to keep them at bay. He is a strong clean sheet option in front of the home fans.
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen
Liverpool are missing two thirds of their fearsome strike force, which bodes well for the German keeper to pick up another clean sheet.
The Spanish full back got up and down the flanks in the first leg, placing an expert cross into the box for a first goal assist. He looks the pick of the Barcelona defense.
The aforementioned injuries will force the wing backs to get more involved in the attack. Young Alexander-Arnold was a surprise omission in the first leg, but he should start here with goals needed.
Matthias De Ligt
The highly rated 19 year old Dutch stopper played an impressive first leg and will lead the line as Ajax attempt to seal qualification.
The Colombian stopper returns to his previous club with qualification on his mind. With Jan Vertonghen likely ruled out due to his first leg concussion, Sanchez is almost certain to start and is a set piece threat.
Suspended for the 1st leg and red carded at the weekend, it’s fair to say it hasn’t been the Korean international’s best week of the season. That may change in the 2nd leg though, and he’ll be super motivated given that this could very well be his last game of the season.
Donny Van De Beek
The Dutch midfielder found his scoring touch in the knockout phase and will want to follow up his first leg goal with another here.
The Brazilian is an easy target for the Barca fans, but will relish the opportunity to bag one against his previous club — and silence his many critics in the process.
Injuries to Salah and Firmino place the brunt of Liverpool’s attacking burden firmly on the shoulders of the live-wire Senagalese international.
A dynamite first leg showing was key to Barcelona’s big win. The Uruguayan would simply love to score one in front of the Liverpool fans who adored him in years gone by.
The Serbian was heavily involved in the first leg and should be again when Spurs come to town.
I’m running out of adjectives to describe Messi. A devastating first leg performance was capped off by a stunning free kick that put a dagger into Liverpool hopes. Count on him to finish the job in the 2nd leg.
The absence of first choice starter Roberto Firmino opens the door for the Belgian to spearhead the Liverpool attack. A match winning goal at the weekend will have done his confidence a world of good.
How is your fantasy UCL team looking? Who are your stars, and who are your enablers? Do you have any chips left? And whom do you expect to advance? Did that influence your picks? Please let us know in the comments below!