There was no surprise in Porto and Liverpool meet Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals. Naturally, eyes have shifted to the calendar to see who has the advantage.
Barcelona have La Liga virtually won, only needing nine of the 18 points remaining. Liverpool lead the Premier League but having played one more game than Man City who will be champions if they win all their matches. Liverpool have four games left and City five, with Jurgen Klopp’s side two points ahead.
Although that implies Barca have an advantage, there are other factors in Liverpool’s favour.
They have to play two games before the first leg at Camp Nou on May 1. Cardiff on Sunday and then Huddersfield on Friday 26.
Valverde’s side have to play on Saturday against Real Sociedad, on Tuesday against Alaves and then on Saturday 27 against Levante.
As well as having an extra game, Barca have one day less to prepare for the first leg.
Ahead of the second leg at Anfield, it’s Barca who will have extra rest.
Barca play in Vigo on Saturday May 4, while Liverpool play on Sunday May 5, leaving the Reds less than 50 hours to prepare for the semi-final return on May 7 at 9pm.
Klopp could rest players in that game, although the team need to win to maintain their Premier League bid. Should Liverpool slip up before then, though, the league would effectively be City’s and Klopp could rotate heavily to focus on Barca.