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exclusive Tommy Martin on Liverpool's battle to keep their season afloat in the Champions League

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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 is back and Virgin Media Sport host Tommy Martin has given sundayworld.com his exclusive verdict on the big talking points.

Wednesday

Liverpool (2) v RB Leipzig (0) – Live on Virgin Media Two and Virgin Media Sport

At the time, Liverpool’s impressive first leg win suggested Jurgen Klopp’s men had stopped the rot.

Defeats to Brighton, Manchester City and Leicester before that game effectively ended Liverpool’s Premier League title defence, but the performance against Leipzig suggested it was, at least, full steam ahead in the quest for a seventh Champions League crown.

Certainly, our studio panel hailed the psychological value of the victory over German side.

Now it looks like a temporary reprieve in the middle of a full blown crisis.

Looking back on that first leg, you find yourself questioning whether Leipzig’s Julian Nagelsmann is really the up-and-coming coaching superstar he is supposed to be. The 33-year-old’s achievements have seen him linked to some of the biggest jobs in football, but his team played right into Liverpool’s hands.

A more cautious, counter-attacking set-up would have profited against the struggling Reds in the way Everton, Chelsea and Fulham have done in recent weeks. The good news for Liverpool is that this ‘home’ tie is not actually at home, but in Budapest, meaning their horrific recent record at Anfield is irrelevant. Their two goal lead should be enough to see them through.

Paris SG (4) v Barcelona (1) – Live on Virgin Media Sport Extra 1

The one tie of this week’s Round of 16 fare that looks done and dusted? PSG won’t be thinking that. After all, memories of the famous 2017 Barcelona comeback from a 4-0 first leg deficit still cause shudders in the boulevards around the Parc des Princes.

But that was a very different Barcelona, and a very different PSG. The enduring image of the first leg was a desperate Gerard Pique grabbing the jersey of PSG’s quicksilver Kylian Mbappé, as the young French superstar zoomed past him on his way to a hat-trick.

That sums up where these two clubs are. As Niall Quinn pointed out after the first leg, Barca are broke and still reliant on the fading powers of Lionel Messi. PSG are looking good under new coach Mauricio Pochettino and real contenders to go all the way.

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