Champions League: Bettors rate Liverpool and City as Europe's best

The Champions League round of 16 begins next week as Liverpool travel to Madrid and Spurs host Leipzig. Max Liu reports on the betting...

Champions League football returns next week and bettors make two of the English clubs the strongest in the competition, with Man City 5.30 marginal favourites ahead of defending champions Liverpool 5.70.
Their nearest rivals in the betting are Bayern Munich 7.80 followed by Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain who are both trading at 8.60.

Reds backed to pass Atletico test

Liverpool are the first English club in action when they make a potentially tricky trip to Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.
The Premier League leaders' domestic form has been phenomenal but they dropped five points in the Group Stages of this competition, losing away to Napoli and drawing with the Italians at Anfield. Not that Exchange bettors are put off, with the Reds 2.34 to win in the Spanish capital on Tuesday and [1.34] to qualify.
Jurgen Klopp and his players have fond memories of Madrid, having won the Champions League final there last June. The hosts are having an up and down season, fourth in La Liga and losing a couple of group stage matches in the Champions League.

But Diego Simeone knows how to get his players up for a big night - at least, that's the view of Betfair Ambassador Rivaldo - and they will be no pushovers for the defending champions.

Mour misery or magic with Spurs?

The following night, Spurs host RB Leipzig in a match Jose Mourinho's men are 2.44 to win. But the German side, who are locked in a Bundesliga title tussle with Bayern Munich, are [1.88] to qualify from the tie.
Mourinho has a poor record in this competition in recent years but Spurs fans should be buoyed to note that he has tended to do better in it when under less pressure to succeed - he failed to win to bring it home at Chelsea, Manchester United and Real Madrid, but took Inter and Porto all the way. Could Spurs be next? If you think so, back last year's runners-up at 34.00.

Lampard's youngsters to summon spirit of 2012?

Chelsea also face German opposition when they host Bayern Munich on Tuesday (25 February) of the following week.
The Blues overcame the German champions to win this competition in 2012 and manager Frank Lampard was a key player in that team. But that was then: now Bayern are fancied to win at Stamford Bridge and the Blues are as long as 3.75 to win the first leg.

Bernabeu will be acid test for Guardiola's City

Man City aren't going to win the Premier League this year and Pep Guardiola is desperate to lead them to European glory instead. City go to Real Madrid for the first leg of the tie of the round on Wednesday 26 February.
City are 2.58 and Madrid are 2.62 for the first leg match odds which shows just how tight this one should be. City have a reputation as Champions League chokers, losing to Spurs and Liverpool in recent seasons, whereas Madrid have won the competition a record 13 times.
It's European football's upstarts against its aristocracy and, in Guardiola, City have a proud Catalan would love to his team to make their mark in the Spanish capital. They are 1.60 to qualify which looks short against a Madrid 2.62 side that has found form in recent months under Zinedine Zidane.

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