Paul Merson has claimed that if Liverpool are to defeat Manchester City in tomorrow’s FA Cup semi-final clash, it would give them a ‘physchological edge’ over the Cityzens ahead of a potential meeting in the final of this season’s Champions League.
For the second weekend in succession, Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola are facing off – with the two sides playing out a 2-2 draw at the Etihad last week.
Merson has suggested that the difference in intensity of the side’s midweek fixtures will benefit Liverpool at Wembley tomorrow.
“The FA Cup semi-final between the Premier League’s two heavyweight clubs could not come at a better time for Liverpool,” the former Arsenal man wrote in his Daily Star column (via Football365).
“Jurgen Klopp and his men should be fresher. The Reds got to rest players for the Champions League quarter-final second leg against Benfica, while Manchester City not only had to travel but must now handle the fallout from Wednesday night’s mad scenes against Atletico Madrid.
“True, City have a massive squad, so if anyone can cope, they can. I just think if you look at Liverpool, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane got a rest against Benfica at Anfield on Wednesday, just having a gentle run-out at the end when the tie was already won.”
Salah is without a goal from open play in his last nine games – a run that Merson knows the Egyptian King will want to end tomorrow.
The 54-year-old also claimed that if Liverpool were to defeat City, they’d have a huge ‘psychological edge’ over the Cityzens with the potential of yet another meeting between the sides in this season’s Champions League final.
“You’d like to think those two will be on fire this weekend now, and that could be the difference. The two of them can majorly hurt City. And if one team wins big, then if they do meet again in the Champions League final further down the line it could give the winner a big psychological edge.”
He added: “As if the tension between these two clubs isn’t high enough already, a one-off European final would ramp it up another notch.”
Liverpool will face Villarreal in the semi-finals of Europe’s premier competition after knocking Benfica out in the previous round whilst City will have to defeat Real Madrid across two-legs if they’re to book their spot in the final.
The two sides meeting in a European Cup final would be absolutely massive, we’re not sure if we could handle the nerves of such an occasion.
All focus is on the FA Cup for now, though, and ensuring we take a huge step towards winning the trophy for the first time under Jurgen Klopp.