Phil Foden is Man City’s difference maker; Liverpool cruise to first-leg victory over Benfica | Football News

Foden’s magic makes the difference

Phil Foden set up Kevin de Bruyne for Man City's winner against Atletico Madrid
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Phil Foden set up Kevin de Bruyne for Man City’s winner against Atletico Madrid

It was a game short on moments of attacking quality, such was the defensive resolve of Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid at the Etihad Stadium. But then Phil Foden entered the field and all that changed. He made the difference for Manchester City.

Against tiring legs, his impact was immediate, his arrival altering the dynamic of the game in an instant. He was able to take the ball in a tight area – and there were plenty of them against this Atletico side – before finding the pass that City had been missing.

It was no coincidence. Others would have popped the ball backwards when receiving possession where he did. Foden had the technique and the sense of adventure to look forwards instead. The space did not last long but it was long enough.

It was the moment that decided the match but it was not Foden’s only moment. He got away again soon after and then found the best ball of the night, bent in behind the Atletico defence with the outside of his boot to find that man De Bruyne yet again.

In a little over 20 minutes, he did enough to be the man of the match. He might even be City’s best player now. Omitted from the starting line-up, he still found a way. Expect him to be in the line-up against Liverpool. Foden is just too good to be denied.

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was full of praise for midfielder Phil Foden

Pep: Foden has ‘special quality’

“Phil was brilliant,” Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola eulogised. “He has special quality. His reception is always forward, his space in the first steps are massive, and he had incredible composure to make an incredible assist to Kevin.”

Manchester City’s fixture schedule:

To be rearranged: Wolves (a) Premier League


Sunday 10th April 4:00pm


Kick off 4:30pm


April 10 – Liverpool (h) Premier League, live on Sky Sports

April 13 – Atletico Madrid (a) Champions League QF second leg

April 16 – Liverpool (Wembley) FA Cup semi-finals

April 20 – Brighton (h) Premier League, live on Sky Sports

April 23 – Watford (h) Premier League

April 26/27 – Chelsea/Real Madrid Champions League SF first leg *

April 30 – Leeds (a) Premier League, live on Sky Sports

May 3/4 – Chelsea/Real Madrid Champions League SF second leg *

May 8 – Newcastle (h) Premier League, live on Sky Sports

May 14 – FA Cup final *

May 15 – West Ham (a) Premier League, live on Sky Sports

May 22 – Aston Villa (h) Premier League

May 28 – Champions League final *

* Subject to progress

Liverpool win without breaking sweat

Liverpool's Sadio Mane (right) scores their side's second goal against Benfica
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Liverpool’s Sadio Mane (right) scores their side’s second goal against Benfica

Rarely has a Champions League quarter-final had an narrative surrounding it where the next domestic league match takes priority.

That was the case for Liverpool in Benfica where Jurgen Klopp’s men played with the handbrake on for large parts, with one eye on the weekend, and still managed to come away with a huge 3-1 victory. It was a result achieved without too much sweat or the usual energy expenditure you would associate with the last eight of a European game.

Klopp even managed to rest the legs of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, bringing the pair off with 30 minutes left to play. This was a pretty obvious hint that Klopp is planning to unleash both on Sunday in what is being billed as the potential title decider against Manchester City.

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Jurgen Klopp says his team could and perhaps should have scored more goals against in their 3-1 Champions League win against Benfica.

Interestingly, Klopp decided to keep Luiz Diaz on for the full 90 minutes. The Colombian was in dynamic mood once again, scoring the all-important third goal that restored a two-goal cushion to take back to Anfield.

Does this mean he’s likely to be on the bench for Sunday with Klopp planning to play either Diogo Jota or Roberto Firmino centrally and Mane on the left of the front three? Or is Diaz such a machine, he can just go again?

In midfield Naby Keita staked a claim for one of the two midfield spots in front of Fabinho in the holding role. His passing was quick and clever and his energy to support the three front men was impressive. He managed four shots on goal in the first 14 minutes, spurning a glorious chance with his head after a great ball from Mane. There was also the assist for Diaz’s goal. Klopp has some big decisions to make.

Liverpool’s fixture schedule:


Sunday 10th April 4:00pm


Kick off 4:30pm


April 10 – Man City (a) Premier League, live on Sky Sports

April 13 – Benfica (h) Champions League QF second leg

April 16/17 – Man City (Wembley) FA Cup semi-finals

April 19 – Man United (h) Premier League, live on Sky Sports

April 24 – Everton (h) Premier League, live on Sky Sports

April 26/27 – Villarreal/Bayern Munich Champions League SF first leg *

April 30 – Newcastle (a) Premier League

May 3/4 – Villarreal/Bayern Munich Champions League SF second leg *

May 7 – Tottenham (h) Premier League

May 10 – Aston Villa (a) Premier League, live on Sky Sports

May 14 – FA Cup final *

May 15 – Southampton (a) Premier League, live on Sky Sports

May 22 – Wolves (h) Premier League

May 28 – Champions League final *

* Subject to progress


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