UEFA Champions League 2018-19: Ranking the Semi-finalists by their possibility to win the title
The Champions League Quarter Finals are over!
No one would have predicted the Semi-finalists in what looks like one of the bizarre Champions League campaigns in the recent years. European heavyweights like Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, PSG and Juventus were all knocked out a bit prematurely considering their sky high standards.
The youngest side pulled off another upset by knocking out Cristiano Ronaldo led Juventus, after dominating Real Madrid in the Round of 16 stage. Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham came out on top in the most entertaining Champions League match last night, just beating Manchester City by an away goal margin. The two underdogs will face each other in the Semifinals.
On the other side, Liverpool emerged from the Group of Death against all odds to upset another heavyweight Bayern Munich in the Round of 16. Porto were no match for them in the Quarter Finals. Barcelona led by Lionel Messi is probably the natural Semifinalists in the Champions League and remain the outright favourites, now. The Catalan giants defeated Manchester United in the Quarters and will face Liverpool in the Semi-finals.
Without further ado, let us take a look at the Semi-finalists by how likely they are to win the title this year.
Considering how strong Liverpool are under the tutelage Jurgen Klopp, the top two in the list can easily swap places. But any team which has a rampaging Lionel Messi in their ranks are serious contenders. Messi himself is on a league of his own, on course to keep the promise he swore as a Blaugrana captain.
The most noticeable aspect in the Barcelona under Ernesto Valverde is that how shrewd they are off the ball despite not being the indispensable side they were under Pep Guardiola or Luis Enrique. Under Valverde's guidance, Barcelona are more calculated and safe and rightly so, because the last season Valverde lost two matches when he took risks, against Roma and Leganes in LaLiga.
Moreover, Valverde's Barcelona looks hungry for the title and knows how to grind out results when things are not going in their way. It is obviously a huge factor which can shape their path at the business end of the season but their biggest obstacle remains a team who are peaking at the right time.
Jurgen Klopp's side looked unconvincing in the group stages when they faced the likes of Napoli and PSG. Even against Bayern, they gradually got into the groove and after Porto, we can safely say that the Reds are hitting their prime gear at the right time.
Unlike last year, Liverpool are rock solid when defending with Virgil Van Dijk making his case for a serious contender in the individual awards due to impact. Salah seems back in his usual self and with the likes of Robertson and Mane in their ranks, Liverpool are more than just a compact side.
The only problem seems to be the Premier League as the fixtures is bound to take a toll on the players which offers a little chance of rotation for Jurgen Klopp, which is not the case for Barcelona.