Five questions for the week ahead
Understrength Reds to make most of home advantage?
Tuesday night under the Anfield lights promises to be another huge European occasion for Liverpool who entertain Bayern Munich in their mouthwatering last-16 clash.
Home advantage proved the catalyst for Liverpool en route to last season’s final and the same pattern has evolved this year too; the Reds took maximum points against PSG, Crvena Zvezda and Napoli to inch their way over the qualification line.
It’s just as well though - three defeats on the road left Jurgen Klopp’s side in real danger of exiting the competition before it had really begun!
With that in mind, you think the Reds will need to take an advantage of some sort to the Allianz? If they are to continue their winning streak at home, they’ll do so without captain and defensive linchpin Van Dijk though - he’s suspended.
League One title race to hot up?
The winning machine that is Luton Town have surged to the League One summit and on current form, The Hatters are a good bet to a secure a second successive promotion.
However, chasing pack Barnsley, Portsmouth and Sunderland can all gain ground on the leaders with home fixtures against mid-table opposition.
2nd place Barnsley, on an unbeaten themselves having not lost in 12 and with six wins in the last seven, can close the gap to three points.
But it’s Portsmouth and Sunderland, five and six points off the top two respectively, on the hunt for three much needed points; Pompey are without a win in six, while the Mackems have drawn seven of the last ten.
Can all three win to close the gap?
Will Manchester City sweep up this season and win the lot? The quadruple has been English football’s impossible dream for some while now and this week will certainly shed more light on answering the above question.
As well as learning of their FA Cup Quarter final opponents, City head to Germany for the first leg of their Champions League Last 16 tie. They’ll then try to get their hands on a fourth league cup trophy in six seasons and the first leg of a possible quad by inflicting more misery on Chelsea on Sunday.
The same day, the destiny of the Premier League crown could also take a major swing in favour of Pep’s history chasers with closest challengers Liverpool up to play a rejuvenated Man United at Old Trafford.
A defining seven days for City.
Arsenal to bite back vs. BATE?
The annual Arsenal malaise continued in Belarus last week with the Gunners unable to find their way past Burger King loving BATE Borisov in the first leg of their round-of 32 tie.
The comfortable victory many anticipated failed to materialize for Unai Emery’s side who now have a deficit to overturn ahead of the second leg at the Emirates.
In truth, the Gunners could have put this tie to bed and were guilty of spurning several chances against the best from Belarus, who, even more embarrassingly for Arsenal, hadn’t played a competitive match since December.
Fortunately, Arsenal get a second bite at BATE but what will they serve up on Thursday?
Fight or flight on Friday for Fulham?
Fantasy Premier League lovers up and down the land will rejoice on Friday as the Premier League returns after a two-week break.
The end of the working week sees two fixtures with Cardiff hosting Watford and Fulham heading to the Olympic Stadium to take on West Ham.
Eight points from safety, the games are beginning to run low for miracle worker Claudio Ranieri to conjure another managerial masterclass. If the Cottagers are to escape trouble, they need to be taking points in games such as this against an inconsistent and erratic Hammers team.
Two away points all season long doesn’t bode well but this is surely a must-not lose ahead of a gigantic six-pointer at Southampton next week.