The Champions League returns with the semi-finals this week, and both Man City and Liverpool are at home for their first leg ties with Real Madrid and Villarreal.

We preview both games below.

Man City v Real Madrid 

Manchester City take on Real Madrid in an electric match up this Tuesday evening. It is set to be a clash of the titans with both teams currently sitting at the top of their league tables.

This will be the seventh meeting between Manchester City and Real Madrid in European competition, with an equal two wins each and two draws. It’s time to settle the rivalry and separate the good from the great. This looks likely to be an exciting, high scoring match up.

Manchester City may be full of confidence and having lost only two of their last 27 matches, however when it comes to the Champions League latter stages their track record is less impressive, and they have only made this stage of the competition twice before. On the first occasion they succumbed to Real Madrid by a single goal in 2016. They made the final last season after beating PSG in the semis only to fall to Chelsea.

Raheem Sterling is the second highest English goal scorer in the Champions League, having scored 24 times and he will be looking to add to his tally of three goals this season, with odds on him scoring anytime at 29/20. Guardiola is a highly experienced coach, who has won the Champions League twice previously with Barcelona and having made the semi-finals nine times now. Guardiola also has an excellent record against Real Madrid, having won 11 of his 19 encounters with his old rivals, and his side are fancied to come out on top again, as the 4/11 favourites to win over two legs.

For Real Madrid the road to victory is challenging, considering that they have only won one of their last six away games against English Clubs. Having said this, they have won the Champions League 13 times so cannot be underestimated in this competition. Will the underdog pull through with an upset win in the first leg? The current odds are 11/2 for Real Madrid to take the victory within 90 minutes. The player to watch will be Benzema, who is top goal scorer for the side with 37 goals in all competitions, far clear of second and third for his club who are on 16 and 10 goals scored respectively. Get enhanced odds of Benzema to score and Real Madrid to win at 8/1.

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Liverpool v Villarreal

Liverpool face Villarreal this Wednesday evening, in what is set to be an exciting and unpredictable game.

Villarreal have only won one of their last nine matches in England, a clear pattern for Spanish teams of struggling on English turf. However, considering Villarreal’s top form recently, remaining unbeaten in the past five fixtures and averaging 3.6 shots on target per match, they are not going to make it easy for Liverpool. The price for a Villarreal victory within 90 minutes is currently 9/1.  Arnaut Danjuma is Villarreal’s top goal scorer this season, with 16 goals, and the pay-out for him to put one in the back of the net this game is 12/5 anytime.

Liverpool are the clear favourites at 2/7 to win at Anfield, which is unsurprising considering they are undefeated in their last 10 matches, scoring 24 goals whilst only conceding eight. Following impressive victories over Everton and Manchester United, Liverpool are in a good position to perform well and Mo Salah may be ready to dazzle fans once again. The odds of him scoring two or more goals are 15/4, a fair price considering his notched a brace against Manchester United, two weeks ago.

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