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champions league Tommy Martin gives his verdict on Liverpool's mission against Real Madrid


Tommy Martin host Virgin Media Sport's Champions League coverage

Tommy Martin host Virgin Media Sport's Champions League coverage

Tommy Martin host Virgin Media Sport's Champions League coverage

The Champions League quarter-finals made for sensational viewing as the first legs were played last week and here is Virgin Media Sport host Tommy Martin with his exclusive sundayworld.com column to preview the second legs.


Liverpool v Real Madrid (agg 1-3) – Live on Virgin Media Two

Zinedine Zidane is becoming like the Denis Irwin of managers – we hear how is he is tactically underrated so often now that he is, well, rated.

When he won three Champions Leagues with Real in his first spell in charge it was assumed he was sitting back with a cigar while Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos and co. ran the show. This Real team is not as talented, but Zizou has been showing an impressive ability to cook up a winning gameplan nonetheless.

Last week’s first leg against Liverpool was a case in point. He got his midfielders to pepper the space in behind Liverpool’s attacking full-backs, causing consternation in the Reds’ defensive ranks. Trent Alexander-Arnold got all the stick, but he wasn’t the only player who struggled.

In normal times you would give Liverpool every chance of overturning a two-goal deficit at Anfield, but these are not normal times - Liverpool’s win over Aston Villa at the weekend was their first at Anfield since December.

They will look to the memory of the famous second leg comeback against Barcelona in 2019 but won’t have the backing of a raucous home support to help them. Unless they find the high-energy pressing game that eluded them last week as it has done so often this season, Zidane will steer his classy team into yet another semi-final.

Borussia Dortmund v Manchester City (agg 1-2) – Live on Virgin Media Sport Extra 1

Until Phil Foden’s late winner, it looked like Manchester City’s ‘quarter-final-itis’ was striking again in last week’s first leg at the Etihad Stadium. Pep Guardiola’s men looked nervy and hesitant against a Dortmund team who showed them no respect.

That we were talking more about the performance of 17-year-old Jude Bellingham than Erling Haaland is encouraging for Dortmund – it’s hard to see the Norwegian hotshot having another quiet evening in the second leg.

Even in muted form he still managed to set up Marco Reus for the Bundesliga side’s equaliser – in studio we wondered whether the transfer circus around his future was playing on his mind – but you can expect him to view this second leg as just the sort of stage to showcase his fearsome talent.

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Make no mistake, Pep Guardiola will have spent the week thinking of a plan to combat Haaland and co. City are looking to avoid a fourth consecutive quarter-final exit, with their manager often accused of ‘overthinking’ his tactics on these occasions. If it happens again, Dortmund have just the man to take advantage.

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Online Editors