Michael Owen has made his prediction ahead of Liverpool’s UEFA Champions League quarterfinal trip to play Benfica.
While Jürgen Klopp and his players will remind the media they are focused only on the Benfica tie, they will certainly have one eye on this weekend’s trip to the Etihad to face Manchester City.
Providing his predictions, Owen was quoted by BetVictor, via the Daily Post, as saying: “This should be a good tie for Liverpool. Benfica are a decent side, and that was a brilliant result for them in the last round, knocking out Ajax.
“I don’t think it will be quite that much, I am going for a 3-1 win [for Liverpool].”
In light of the pressure on the Premier League title race and the demand on the side to deliver another domestic title, it will be refreshing to see Klopp’s tricky Reds on the biggest stage in front of the travelling Kop.
It’s been frustrating recently for Mohamed Salah so it could be the perfect opportunity for the Egyptian to rekindle the form that saw him glide past Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in a way that only Lionel Messi could, leaving Bernardo Silva on the floor and more than a few other blue shirts in his wake.
Benfica are by no means a weak opponent but Liverpool will expect to beat a side that is third in Liga Nos let alone 15 points off the pacesetters, Sporting Lisbon.
Trent Alexander-Arnold will also have a point to prove as he edges towards a likely return from injury after missing the 2-0 win over Watford due to a minor hamstring injury.
With Manchester City more than likely to employ a high press, it’s vital that Trent is at his influential best so Liverpool can play out the back without much fuss.
For that reason, Luis Diaz may be vital on Sunday as his composure and ability to match Kyle Walker and perhaps, even outmatch him, for pace could help the Reds make serious gains in transition.
That’s why Klopp should start both Diaz and Sadio Mane tonight.
Diaz so that he can get him ready to face Walker one v one as wide as possible to open spice down the middle where Mane could exploit the space centrally. Similarly, it could help create more 1 v 1 situations with Mohamed Salah and Joao Cancelo, who can be beaten in wide areas quite regularly when isolated.
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