Only six days in total between two CL quarter-final ties and in many ways I feel grateful for the derby being stuck in the middle so as to deflect attention from Tuesday at the Etihad.
I doubt I’ll have the nerves to watch it on television and there’s every chance that a digital scoreboard on the computer will be my escape route, desperately urging the editor to change the zero against Liverpool to a one. At which point cue euphoria for a precious away goal.
I’ve been trying to recall my personal anxiety levels before previous high-profile 2nd legs – Barca ’01, Juventus and Leverkusen ’05, Chelsea ’05 & ’07 and more recently Dortmund 2016. Was I as stressed out on those occasions as now? Probably.
But the thing is, we were never in such a commanding lead as now. After all, we’re holding a THREE goal lead and no City away goal to worry about!
Since the day of the draw, I’ve always believed we will score at the Etihad, though as the occasion draws ever nearer, human nature decrees that levels of optimism are whittled away.
Against that, losing a 2-goal lead to Mourinho must have done a deal of damage to City’s psyche, so I’ll take that as my fall-back, even if when Tuesday arrives, it won’t be time for a weak heart.
If the Reds fall apart from such a strong position, there will surely be short-term recriminations, but do any of us believe that Madrid, Bayern or Barca will fail to defend their 1st leg leads?
As with those sides, all across Europe Liverpool are expected to go through, so why shouldn’t we feel equally as optimistic?
We do… don’t we?