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Champions League/Europa League draws and FA Cup build-up – as it happened

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Champions League quarter-final draw in full

The final teams are drawn from the bowl, and the four fixtures end up looking like this:

Arsenal v Bayern Munich
Atlético Madrid v Borussia Dortmund
Real Madrid v Manchester City
Paris Saint-Germain v Barcelona

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Key events

And before we sign off on another busy day, it’s Football Daily! Thanks for joining us.

Who wants to see Fernando Torres boxing. In a Trent Alexander-Arnold shirt. Go on then.

A bit more detail from the Erik ten Hag press conference. But first, here’s his head-to-head record (in charge of Ajax and United) with his opposite number in Sunday’s FA Cup clash.

Jurgen Klopp: 3 wins
Erik ten Hag: 1 win
Draws: 1

Liverpool Goals : 10
Ajax/Man Utd goals: 2

Marco Silva couldn’t be more complimentary of his opposite number, Ange Postecoglou, as Fulham prepare to host Tottenham on Saturday. Spurs won the reverse fixture 2-0 although the Cottagers did knock Tottenham out of the Carabao Cup on penalties when the two met at Craven Cottage in August. Take it away Marco…

A great job from Ange, no doubts about it. Big, big transformation. I can tell there is a big, big change in the way they play – the approach and the way they have been brave, the quality as well.

They started so, so strong. Of course, during the season you can have some ups and downs, but they’ve been really brave. Difficult to play against, and credit for him. And for the players, because it’s not just the manager, the players have to understand. They understood clearly what was the idea, they bought into it for sure, and you can see that on the pitch.

Manchester United v Liverpool in an FA Cup tie this weekend. Steven Pye wasn’t going to let that one go.

Although violence was a constant feature in both matches – the initial 2–2 draw at Goodison Park and the replay four days later at Maine Road – the atmosphere in both matches was off the scale.

Thanks Taha. With many of the teams around them not in action, Saturday is a good chance for Brentford to pull further clear of the drop zone. Victory at Burnley would move them eight ahead of third-bottom Luton if the Hatters lose at home to Nottingham Forest and here’s a boost for the Bees: Brian Mbeumo could be back. Here’s Brentford boss Thomas Frank on his frontman.

He’s very close. I have a decision to make, to maybe involve him in the squad this weekend. He’s been on the grass for a week, he looks good, and he’s one of our best players. I need to find out if it’s just a touch too early, or to bring him for the game against Burnley.

He’s progressed really well. He had a good first season, better second and has really taken the next step in his third season in the Premier League. He was on track for a really remarkable season. Everyone wants those good numbers for offensive players in terms of goals and assists. We’ve missed his one-on-one actions and runs in behind.

That’s enough from me. David Tindall’s back to see this thing to the close. Cheers!

It’s been mentioned already down the page but it really is a massive boost for Manchester United that Rasmus Højlund is looking as if he’ll be fit for the FA Cup quarter-final against Liverpool on Sunday. He was finally looking the part up top before suffering a muscle injury last month, scoring seven goals in six consecutive league games before his layoff. Even after that slow start – it took him until Boxing Day to score in the league – he’s United’s leading goalscorer across all competitions this season.

After a number of WSL managers condemned player-coach relationships, here’s Suzy Wrack explaining the scale of the problem.

The Guardian in recent months has been made aware of more than 18 staff members, including coaches, head coaches, assistant coaches and managing directors, across the pyramid, who have had relationships with players in their teams within the past 10 years.

I have spoken to a senior leader of a club in the top two tiers who has seen two staff members let go and another undergo disciplinary processes in four years, for blurring the professional lines with players.

“It looks like a little bit of a tradition, three years in a row playing the kings of the competition,” said Pep Guardiola regarding his side meeting Real Madrid again in the Champions League.

The two teams put on a serious show in the 2021/22 semi-finals, when City won the first leg 4-3, were 1-0 up in the second after 89 minutes, and then somehow ended up losing 3-1 in extra time.

City got their revenge in last year’s semis, when they won the second leg 4-0 to win 5-1 on aggregate. Some performance that.

Aside from the obvious Cup chat ahead of Sunday’s quarter-final, Jürgen Klopp was also asked Liverpool meeting Atalanta in the Europa League quarter-finals. PA reported these quotes from the manager:

Atalanta we played there [in 2020] – not that I watched them since then 500 times, but still the same manager, pretty sure a similar structure so it means uncomfortable to play against, very well organised. I have a lot of respect for what Atalanta is doing in the last years, very consistent.”

A weird one for Liverpool – they met Atalanta in the 2020/21 Champions League group stages, beating them 5-0 away from home before losing 2-0 to the Italian side a few weeks later.

Real Madrid file complaint over ‘racist and hateful abuse’ aimed at Vinícius Júnior

Real Madrid have released a statement regarding “racist and hateful abuse” that has been aimed at Vinícius Júnior. The Brazilian has been repeatedly racially abused while playing in Spain and said last year that “racism is normal in La Liga”. Here’s the whole statement from Madrid.

Real Madrid C. F. has filed a complaint with the Official State Prosecutor over hate and discrimination offences pertaining to the racist and hateful abuse aimed at our player Vinicius Junior in the areas surrounding the Montjuic Olympic Stadium and the Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid, ahead of the F. C. Barcelona-Napoli and Atlético de Madrid-Inter Milan Champions League fixtures.

Real Madrid calls on Prosecutors to request the recordings available of both locations from the security forces in order to identify the perpetrators of the abuse.

Real Madrid condemns these violent attacks of racism, discrimination and hate against our player Vinicius Junior, which have sadly been a recurrent and ongoing concern for some time. Our club will continue working hard to uphold the values of football and sport as a whole, and will remain steadfast in the fight for a zero-tolerance approach to the types of despicable incidents we have seen on multiple occasions in recent times.

Jamie Vardy to miss FA Cup quarter-final against Chelsea

PA are reporting that Jamie Vardy, that blast from the past, won’t be fit to play Leicester’s FA Cup quarter-final against Chelsea on Sunday. “It’s small problems, I have said many times, we all love Jamie Vardy but he is 37 and we can not forget that,” said the Leicester manager, Enzo Maresca. “Fortunately it is not a big issue and it is the international break [after] which we can hopefully have all of our players back.” In case you’re wondering, Vardy has 15 goals in 28 games this season.

Here’s Jacob Steinberg’s interview with Callum Hudson-Odoi, who seems to have been around for ages but, as he remind us, is still at the start of his career.

I’ve experienced so much in my time already in football. You look back and think there’s so much more to come. I’m only 23. I can achieve so many great things. Everything is focused on football and making sure I get the best out of myself.

Ten Hag on Rashford’s future: ‘He should be part of this project’

Erik ten Hag’s asked about the future of Marcus Rashford and whether he envisages the club ever selling the forward to boost their financial situation:

We didn’t re-sign him last season for four years with the intention to sell him. He should be part of this project, so that is not a subject we talk about.

Hello all! Mauricio Pochettino’s been having a chat ahead of Chelsea’s FA Cup quarter-final with Leicester, a rematch of the final from 2021. Apparently some of his players didn’t get much shut-eye before their Carabao Cup final defeat to Liverpool … Well, that doesn’t help, does it? Here are the quotes from PA:

For us to beat Leicester will be massive for us because there is a possibility for this team to play at Wembley again. Some players did not sleep the day before the [Carabao Cup] final and that is about experience in these situations and it has to be better. For us to challenge in the final and play in Europe through the FA Cup will be massive. We learned through experience and with the pain [of defeat] we learn more.

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I’m going to step away from the blog for a bit. Taha Hashim will take over – you can email him here.

Talking of Manchester United, there’s good news from them on the injury front, with Rasmus Hojlund, Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka all likely to be available to face Liverpool. “We had a good week,” Erik Ten Hag said. “The players you mention returned on the pitch. Partly at the start of the week and today we had a session and they were all training. I think [they are available]. We have tomorrow one session. Of course, we have to see how they recover from this but it looks good.”

Meanwhile Mason Mount has been eased back into training over the week – “First part of the week partly, but then also he had some full sessions with us, so it’s looking good.”

Jurgen Klopp’s press conference is under way, and he’s asked if he’s going to enjoy Liverpool’s FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester United:

I’m looking forward to it. I’m not sure that’s exactly what you call enjoyment. Ask me after the game if I enjoyed it. But before the game it’s just work. I don’t know much about their season but I saw a few really good games. They have a lot of quality there. It’s always a tough place to go for us. It means everything to both fan groups, we know that. We try to show that on the pitch as well with the work-rate. But you never know, and there are no guarantees, just opportunities. That’s how we see it and we’re really ready to give it a try.

Pep Guardiola is facing the media now. He’s got this to say on Manchester City’s Champions League tie against Real Madrid: “We don’t have another option. It seems like tradition, three years in a row, to play the kings of the competition.”

Sky are broadcasting live a door that Pep Guardiola is expected to walk through shortly. These are special Friday moments. Spurs have already held their press conference, in which we learned that Micky van de Ven, who limped out of last weekend’s win at Aston Villa, will miss their trip to Fulham but “with the international break we don’t think he’ll miss much more”, but Richarlison has returned to training and could play this weekend. “Richy trained today and we’ll see how he pulls up,” Ange Postecoglou said. “If he pulls up well, he’ll be involved tomorrow.”

And then the semi-finals look like this. The winner of the first semi-final will be officially classified as the home side when the final is played in Athens on 29 May.

Aston Villa or Lille v Olympiacos v Fenerbahce
Viktoria Plzen or Fiorentina v Club Brugge or PAOK

Uefa Conference League quarter-final draw

A Uefa Conference League draw has taken place! And the fixtures look like this:

Club Brugge v PAOK
Olympiacos v Fenerbahce
Aston Villa v Lille
Viktoria Plzen v Fiorentina

If you’re looking for more draw-based content, I can heartily recommend this story on the Europa League draw:

West Ham have an extremely tough draw but Michail Antonio will be happy with it, given they will be at home in the second leg of their quarter-final against Bayer Leverkusen and, if successful, again in their semi-final against Milan or Roma. This is what he’s had to say about his side’s Europa League chances:

You always want the second leg at home so we can bring it back to our fans. It doesn’t matter if we feel we’re down, doesn’t matter if we’re losing. We believe when we come back here we can win the game. We have that confidence.

One thing with us in Europe, we definitely know how to play, we definitely know how to go far. So hopefully we can do what we did last year. We always think about winning it. Whenever we get into Europe we believe and we have got the confidence to win it.

There’s some big names out there obviously, but one thing we know how to do is win games in Europe. We got the final last year and won it, the year before we got to the semis and felt like we should have done better. So hopefully this year we can do it again.

Good news for Premier League clubs with European ambitions: it’s probably going to be even easier to qualify for continental competition next year. Indeed, it’s getting increasingly hard to avoid. Essentially, if Arsenal or West Ham win their quarter-finals, against German opposition, an extra Champions League spot should be a done deal. Paul MacInnes reports:

English clubs are set to clinch a fifth Champions League spot next season, with Uefa analysis suggesting a 90% chance that the Premier League takes an extra place ahead of the Bundesliga.

An expanded Champions League format from 2024 means two places are to be given to sides from countries who have performed the best in Europe over the previous season. Uefa’s coefficient table has Italy top, with Germany narrowly ahead of England in second place. But West Ham’s emphatic victory over Freiburg may well prove decisive in tipping the scales in England’s favour.

Before the quarter-final stages of Uefa’s three club tournaments, England is the equivalent of a single draw behind Germany in the coefficient table, calculated according to points awarded for performance and divided by the number of sides who started the season in competition. England began with eight teams and Germany seven, but after West Ham’s passage at Freiburg’s expense, Germany have three teams in quarter-finals while England have five.

Much more here:

Here are both of the European draws, to save you a little scrolling:

Champions League quarter-finals

Arsenal v Bayern Munich
Atlético Madrid v Borussia Dortmund
Real Madrid v Manchester City
Paris Saint-Germain v Barcelona

Europa League quarter-finals

Milan v Roma
Liverpool v Atalanta
Bayer Leverkusen v West Ham
Benfica v Marseille

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And for what it’s worth, whoever wins the first of those semi-finals will be treated as the home team in the final in Dublin.

And so to the semi-finals. The draw has been completed and this is it:

Benfica or Marseille v Liverpool or Atalanta
Milan or Roma v Bayer Leverkusen or West Ham

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Europa League quarter-final draw in full

It’s Benfica! So the final draw for the final eight looks as follows:

Milan v Roma
Liverpool v Atalanta
Bayer Leverkusen v West Ham
Benfica v Marseille

It’s Bayer Leverkusen against West Ham United, which means Benfica will face Marseille. But who’s at home first?

Liverpool, the team nobody wanted to draw, will be at home in their first leg against Atalanta!

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