Phil Foden is Man City’s difference maker; Liverpool cruise to first leg win over Benfica | Soccer News


Foden’s magic makes the difference

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola raved about midfielder Phil Foden

It was a game short of attacking quality moments, such was the defensive determination of Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid at the Etihad Stadium. But then Phil Foden stepped onto the pitch and that all changed. He made the difference for Manchester City.

Against tiring legs, his impact was immediate, his arrival changing the dynamics of the game in an instant. He managed to take the ball in a tight area – and there were plenty of those against this Atletico side – before finding the pass City was missing.

It was no coincidence. Others would have blown the ball backwards when receiving possession where he did. Foden had the technique and the sense of adventure to look forward instead. The space didn’t last long but it was long enough.

It was the moment that decided the game but it wasn’t Foden’s only moment. He broke away again soon after and then found the best ball of the night, ducking behind the Atletico defense with the outside of his boot to find that De Bruyne man again.

In just over 20 minutes, he did enough to be man of the match. He might even be City’s best player now. Omitted from the starting lineup, he still found a way. Expect him to be in training against Liverpool. Foden is just too good to turn down.

Manchester City match schedule:

To rearrange: Wolves (a) premier league

April 10 – Liverpool (h) premier leaguelive on Sky Sports

April 13 – Atletico de Madrid (a) Champions League Qualifying second leg

April 16 – Liverpool (Wembley) FA Cup semi-finals

April 20 – Brighton premier leaguelive on Sky Sports

April 23 – Watford (h) premier league

April 26/27 – Chelsea/Real Madrid Champions League SF first leg*

April 30 – Leeds premier leaguelive on Sky Sports

May 3/4 – Chelsea/Real Madrid SF Champions League second leg*

May 8 – Newcastle (h) Premier League, live on Sky Sports

May 14 – FA Cup Final *

May 15 – West Ham (a) Premier League, live on Sky Sports

May 22 – Villa Aston (h) premier league

May 28 – Champions League Final *

* Subject to progress

Liverpool win without breaking a sweat

Luis Dias scored a third goal for Liverpool in their Champions League game against Benfica
Picture:
Luis Dias scored a third Liverpool goal as they had too many for Benfica

Rarely has a Champions League quarter-final had a narrative surrounding it where the next domestic league game takes precedence.

Such was the case for Liverpool at Benfica where Jurgen Klopp’s men played with the handbrake for large games, with one eye on the weekend, and still managed to come away with a whopping 3-1 victory. It was a result achieved without too much sweat or the usual energy expenditure that one associates with the last eight of a European match.

Klopp even managed to rest the legs of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, taking the pair out with 30 minutes left. It was a pretty obvious hint that Klopp is planning to release the two on Sunday in what is being touted as the potential title decider against Manchester City.

Interestingly, Klopp decided to keep Luiz Diaz for 90 minutes. The Colombian was in a dynamic mood again, scoring the all-important third goal which restored a two-goal cushion to bring back to Anfield.

Does that mean he’s likely to be on the bench on Sunday, with Klopp planning to play Diogo Jota or Roberto Firmino in the middle and Mane on the left of the front three? Or is Diaz such a machine he can just walk away?

Sunday, April 10, 4:00 p.m.

Kick off 4:30 p.m.


In midfield, Naby Keita claimed one of two midfield spots ahead of Fabinho in the starting role. His passing was quick and smart and his energy to support the three leading men was impressive. He had four shots on goal in the opening 14 minutes, fending off a glorious chance with his header after a superb through ball from Mane. There was also the assist for Diaz’s goal. Klopp has big decisions to make.

Liverpool match schedule:

April 10 – Manchester (a) premier leaguelive on Sky Sports

April 13 – Benfica (h) Champions League Qualifying second leg

April 16/17 – Manchester City (Wembley) FA Cup semi-finals

April 19 – Manchester United (h) premier leaguelive on Sky Sports

April 24 – Everton (h) premier leaguelive on Sky Sports

April 26/27 – Villarreal/Bayern Munich Champions League SF first leg*

April 30 – Newcastle (a) premier league

May 3/4 – Villarreal/Bayern Munich SF Champions League second leg*

May 7 – Tottenham (h) premier league

May 10 – Aston Villa Premier League, live on Sky Sports

May 14 – FA Cup Final *

May 15 – Southampton Premier League, live on Sky Sports

May 22 – Wolves (h) premier league

May 28 – Champions League Final *

* Subject to progress




Sky Sports

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