Soccer

Champions League picks, predictions, odds: Manchester City to move on, Real Madrid ease past Liverpool

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The Champions League round of 16 second legs wrap up this week with two games on Tuesday and two more on Wednesday, and you can catch all the action on Paramount+. Inter and Manchester City enter their games on Tuesday as favorites while Real Madrid will aim to finish off Liverpool on Wednesday as Napoli look to do the same with Eintracht Frankfurt. Once this round concludes, the quarterfinals will take place starting on April 11. Here’s our predictions for each match and more:

Tuesday’s broadcast schedule

(All times U.S./Eastern)

Wednesday’s broadcast schedule

(All times U.S./Eastern)

Coverage starts each day at 3 p.m. with Champions League Today on CBS and Paramount+. Paramount+ will offer a multicast feature allowing subscribers to watch two matches simultaneously in a split-screen view. You can try one month free by using the code: ADVANCE.

Match picks

Real Madrid vs. Liverpool

Featured Game | Real Madrid vs. Liverpool

One matchup to watch: Liverpool fell apart in the first leg because Real Madrid found it too easy to drive through a midfield riddled with players who were either out of form or too green for this toughest of tests. Since the 5-2 defeat Fabinho’s form has swung upwards but then he came crashing down to earth against Bournemouth as Liverpool were upset 1-0. Liverpool’s first priority will have to be a clean sheet, if he can disrupt the rhythm of Luka Modric then they might be able to keep this close.

Most likely to score a goal: Another who rather went off the boil against Bournemouth, Mohamed Salah had just been rounding into form after a 2022 that was, by his vertiginous standards, rather underwhelming. He is starting to find his best role alongside Cody Gakpo and Darwin Nunez and although he is more creator than he has been in the past, he popped up with plenty of shots in the hammering of Manchester United. In the big games he is starting to deliver again.

Man of the Match pick: One senses that at least for a moment Liverpool might give themselves something to believe in. Undoubtedly they are going to put all sorts of pressure on the Madrid goal but if Thibaut Courtois is on song between the sticks he could be the difference between a great Champions League upset and a path to the last eight for the title-holders.

Match prediction: Against almost any other team in the field there could be a convincing case for players blinking under the pressure and intensity that Liverpool will presumably bring. But Real Madrid tend not to buckle, so while there might be moments of serious stress, they should hold out for a 2-1 defeat that means they reach the quarterfinals. — James Benge

Napoli vs. Eintracht Frankfurt

Featured Game | Napoli vs. Eintracht Frankfurt

One matchup to watch: Evan Ndicka vs. Hirving Lozano – This duel will be a key one as the defender was one of the best players of the German team this season but will face Lozano who, with his pace, can create many issues for Frankfurt’s defense. The attacking line of Napoli is definitely a big danger for Frankfurt and Ndicka’s performance is the one to watch to understand how the game will go on Wednesday. 

Most likely to score a goal: Victor Osimhen – The Nigerian striker has already scored 21 goals in 27 matches this season, and also opened the scoresheet in the first leg in Germany. He has already showed that he can create many problems for the German defense and we are likely to witness something similar during the second leg at the Stadio Maradona. 

Man of the Match pick: Khvicha Kvaratskhelia – Who else? Kvaradona, as they call him now in Naples, is the man of the moment as he scored another stunning goal against Atalanta on Saturday. He’s the key player behind Napoli’s success this year and has already scored eleven goals in 22 games, and also provided 11 assists to his teammates. 

Match prediction: Napoli should make it pretty easily also in the second leg at home and are definitely expected to win. Pick: Napoli 3, Eintracht 0-Francesco Porzio

Manchester City vs. RB Leipzig

Featured Game | Manchester City vs. RB Leipzig

One matchup to watch: Phil Foden vs. Marcel Halsenberg — While Foden struggled against Crystal Palace during the weekend, he has been a sparkplug for Manchester City since getting back in the lineup. Even when he doesn’t score, Foden’s lack of fear causes him to be direct, giving opposing fullbacks fits. Registering two goals and one assist in his last three matches, Foden will give Pep Guardiola an option to unlock what will be an organized RB Leipzig defense. 

Most likely to score a goal: Erling Haaland — Who else but Haaland can go here. When City need a goal, there’s nowhere better to look than their Norwegian marksman. With 33 goals in all competitions, Haaland is so close to averaging a goal per game and he could draw closer to that mark by netting the winner in the match. All Haaland needs is one touch to make things happen. His influence is undeniable. 

Man of the Match pick: Rodri — He’s the metronome keeping Manchester City ticking. It can sometimes be easy to forget that Rodri is on the pitch, unless you’re the opposition trying to string together attacks that is. Sitting deep, Rodri is able to protect his back line, while also quickly turning defense into attack by having the vision to see what the best pass to spring a counterattack is. Also able to pop up in the box for headers and keep the defense honest by putting shots on target from outside of the box, Rodri is integral to what City does.

Match prediction: Goals will come at a premium with the teams coming into the match on level footing. City knows that if they aren’t careful, RB Leipzig will have no issues hitting them on the counter but one goal from Haaland will be enough to see the match out. Pick: Manchester City 1, RB Leipzig 0. -Chuck Booth

FC Porto vs. Inter

Featured Game | Porto vs. Inter

One matchup to watch: Pepe vs. Lautaro Martinez – This will clearly be one of the most, if not the most, crucial duel to watch in this second leg of the tie. Portuguese defender Pepe needs to contain Lautaro Martinez, which he did pretty well in the first leg at San Siro. The Argentinian striker wants to react after a disappointing performance at Spezia, when he missed a penalty as Inter lost 2-1 against the home team. 

Most likely to score a goal: Romelu Lukaku – Big Rom already scored the deciding goal in the first leg three weeks ago, but this time he will probably have more space when the Nerazzurri attack, as Porto need to win the game if they want to reach the quarterfinals. Especially in the second half, Lukaku’s pace can become one of the turning points of this clash. 

Man of the Match pick: Andre Onana – The Inter goalkeeper will likely be involved as Porto need to score two goals and his saves can determine the final result of this second leg. He’s been one of the surprises of the season so far for this Nerazzurri team and he’s my pick for the man of the match this time. 

Match prediction: Despite Porto needing to win this game, I see Inter as leading candidates to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2010, when they last won the Champions League under Jose Mourinho. Pick: Inter Milan 2, Porto 1 — Francesco Porzio

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Publish Date:2023-03-14 11:11:04

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