Advantage Liverpool in title race as Champions League
JURGEN KLOPP has rarely been short of a smile.
But when he watched the UEFA Champions League draw his grin would have been as wide as the Mersey.
It was not just that Liverpool got the last eight adversaries every other person needed – Porto.
Even having to play the first leg at home will have been a minor burden.
City might have overtaken Liverpool as the fight for the crown achieves its last straight.
But they now face those two games with Spurs, including the first European night at Tottenham’s gleaming new 62,000-capacity home back in N17, as a feature of a hyper, wild, all-devouring spell of seven tremendous amusements in close to 19 days.
Assuming City beat Swansea this weekend – and they are heavy favourites – they will then play their FA Cup semi-last on Saturday April 6 or the next day.
That, of course, could be against neighbours and rivals Man United, a titanic conflict at Wembley.
And that is just the start of a series of games that will deplete even Pep Guardiola’s assets.
On April 14, it is the capital again. South of the Thames this time, facing a Crystal Palace side who have already claimed their scalp once this season and who were a late missed punishment at Selhurst far from being the principal side to beat them last term also.
By the following weekend, they will have played Spurs twice more, both at the Etihad, with the second leg in Europe the midweek coordinate before the Premier League diversion pursues.
And on April 24, just to bring it all to a head, another home game, this time against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United.
Each game under huge pressure, a compelling trial of psyche and body.