Three of the four English clubs in the last eight of the Champions League are in action on Tuesday night. Anfield – renowned for the fervour of the Liverpool fans during European clashes – will be the venue for the visit of the Portuguese outfit Porto.
A few hundred kilometres down south, Tottenham Hotspur entertain Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City at their new stadium.
Spurs inaugurated their billion euro spread with a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace in the Premier League.
The game against City will be their first European game at the glitzy site. Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has described the game as the biggest ever match of his managerial career.
“City know and Guardiola knows that we’re brave playing football,” said Pochettino. “We like to go forward and be aggressive, to be protagonists. But the most important thing is that we are aggressive.”
The Champions League remains Tottenham’s only chance of silverware this season. City, by contrast, are seeking a clean sweep of trophies. They have already claimed the Community Shield – the English Super Cup – as well as the League Cup. They are vying for the Premier League title and last Saturday reached the FA Cup final with a 1-0 win over Brighton.
“I don’t know how fresh we are,” said Guardiola on the eve of the first leg against Tottenham. “I never know before the game how fresh our legs and minds are.
“But the mind controls the legs. In the semi-final we could have been better but it’s happened and we won.
“The match against Tottenham is in another competition. We know how tough it will be against a tough opponent that we know quite well.”
While City will start as slight favourites against Tottenham – because of their positions in the Premier League – Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are expected to sweep aside Porto.
Liverpool thrashed Porto 5-0 in last season’s Champions League last 16. But Klopp said the tie would not be straightforward.
“People around said so many things. They only look at numbers and names, stuff like that.
“People with a proper idea about football didn’t want to have Porto, that’s the truth. But nobody wanted Liverpool as well by the way.”
Klopp said his players are relishing the quest for a Premier League and Champions League double.
“It’s such a good time. We are in the two big competitions. But we have to use the situation,” said Klopp.
“We want to write a few proper things on the pages of that season book. We are on fire to be honest but so are the other teams as well. We all play for a lot.”