Liverpool to face Manchester City in Champions League quarter-finals

Jurgen Klopp says Manchester United fans will be delighted with the draw.
Jurgen Klopp says Manchester United fans will be delighted with the draw. Photo credit: Reuters

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has launched an angry attack on fixture schedulers as the club's local derby with Everton, sandwiched between the two legs of their Champions League tie against Manchester City, was brought forward a day.

A new Saturday lunchtime (Sunday NZ time) kick-off against Everton next month means Liverpool will have just 63 hours between the first leg against City finishing and the 231st Merseyside derby starting at Everton's Goodison Park ground in front of TV cameras.      

Fellow English Premier League big guns City, meanwhile, face Manchester United at 5.30pm the same day and Klopp is not happy. 

"I know countries where they cancel whole match days, so teams can be in the best shape," Klopp said.              

"We play Wednesday night (Thursday NZ time) against Manchester City and then play Everton at 12.30 three days later.                "

"That means the players get up on Thursday and have lunch or breakfast and then we train and next day we are second-day recovery and then you start at 12.30 (on Saturday).

"Can you imagine how big the difference is in these five hours? It means the world in preparation and recovery.             

"Obviously whoever made the schedule didn't think we'd go to the quarter-finals because (the derby) was a Sunday game. Oops, it is only Liverpool."           

When Klopp was asked whether he wanted the Everton match moved he almost lost his temper.           

"No, I'd like it at nine o'clock in the morning. What the f...?" he said sarcastically.              

Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane.
Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane. Photo credit: Getty Images

The scheduling issue overshadowed the quarter-final draw on Friday lunchtime which threw up the intriguing all-English clash, with Pep Guardiola's all- conquering side pitted against the only Premier League team to beat them so far this season.               

Klopp has suggested that the Manchester United fans will be happiest with the draw.  

City are runaway leaders in the top division with United currently second and Liverpool five points behind them in fourth.               

"I think it is an absolute dream draw - for Manchester United fans," the German said.

"It didn't matter who we got, I knew it would be difficult. And it's difficult.

Manchester City will be difficult. It doesn't look like Christmas and Easter in the same day."        

Manchester City's director of football Txiki Begiristain told the club website the draw had thrown up difficult opponents in Liverpool, who beat his side at Anfield in January after losing 5-0 at the Etihad last September.

"We like to travel and to go to another country in the Champions League but it is what it is," he said.      

The draw also sees two-time defending champions Real Madrid play Juventus in a repeat of last season's final.

Lionel Messi.
Lionel Messi. Photo credit: Reuters

Five-time champions Barcelona and Bayern Munich will face teams who have never won the tournament.         

Barcelona are at home first against Roma, and Munich face Sevilla in the first leg in Spain.            

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUARTER-FINALS:              

First-leg games, April 4-5 (NZ time):         

Barcelona v Roma           

Sevilla v Bayern Munich               

Juventus v Real Madrid

Liverpool v Manchester City.     

Second-leg games, April 11-12 (NZ time):

Roma v Barcelona

Bayern Munich v Sevilla

Real Madrid v Juventus

Manchester City v Liverpool.     

The final is on May 26 at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine.  

PA