We now know which four teams have qualified, and who plays who in the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League semi-finals. This is how they line up.
- Tottenham vs Ajax – 30 April, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on 8th May, Johan Cruyff Arena
- Barcelona vs Liverpool – 1 May, Camp Nou on 7th May, Anfield Stadium
Tottenham and Ajax are probably the surprise package in most people’s eyes. In the quarterfinals, Manchester City were favourites to beat Tottenham final, as were Juventus when they met Ajax. But football being the wonderful and unpredictable game that it is, proved that even the underdogs could emerge victorious. So, what now? Who will go on to make the final? Let’s have a quick look at their previous meetings.
Previous meetings of Tottenham and Ajax
The last time that Tottenham and Ajax met was in the 1981/1982 European Cup Winners Cup. Spurs won by both legs. They beat the Dutch champions 3-1 in the Netherlands, and by 3-0 in the 2nd leg in England. Of course, that was a long time ago and both teams have totally changed; not only in terms of players but managers as well.
One worrying problem for Spurs is the injury to leading goal scorer Harry Kane. The striker picked up a nasty lateral ligament injury to his left ankle, and there is doubt as to whether or not he will play again this season. But if he remains unavailable, at least Tottenham have Son Heung-min to fall back on.
The South Korean is in sizzling form. His three goals in the two clashes with Manchester City are the reason that Spurs progressed to the semis. He is a very popular player and is currently leading the poll for being on the cover of FIFA 2020 ahead of both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
The games against Ajax promise to be very entertaining with both sides capable of scoring from fast break-outs. It will be tight. But the fact that the two hottest favourites (Barcelona and Liverpool) have been drawn against each other means that one of the lesser fancied sides will be contesting the final.
Previous meetings of Barcelona and Liverpool
Barcelona vs Liverpool is perhaps the most mouth-watering of the two semis with strikers Lionel Messi and Mo Salah on show for their respective sides.
Messi is the Champions League best goal scorer with ten to his credit. But Salah won the Premier League Golden Boot last season with a stunning 32 goals to his credit. This season to date he is joint leader with Sergio Aguero; both players have scored 19 goals so far. A recent most valuable top scorer report shows Salah well ahead. This analysis also evaluates winning goals and equalising goals, etc.
Looking at their past records, there is not much to choose between Barca and the Reds. In their last eight meetings, Liverpool edge it slightly by three wins to Barcelona’s two. The two teams have drawn on five occasions. Most of the matches were low scoring affairs. The only difference was their meeting in 2001 when the Reds won by 3-1 on aggregate.
Messi not the only dangerman
It is sure to be a fascinating couple of matches and while Messi is the focus for most people’s attention, Luis Suárez and Philippe Coutinho will be more than up for it when they play in the return fixture at Anfield, if of course, they can remain injury free.