Chiefs see off Chippa to advance to final

Kaizer Chiefs rode their luck but came through the storm to defeat Chippa United 4-2 in Saturday's Nedbank Cup semi-final at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

Chiefs were showing plenty of intention and took the lead in the 36th minute through Dumisani Zuma, who had come on as a sub for the injured Kabelo Mahlasela.

Chippa keeper Mbongeni Mzimela made a mistake from Khama Billiat's through ball to present a sitter.

In the second stanza Chippa found a way back as Andile Mbenyane struck home from Tebogo Matome Makobela's assist.

Lerato Manzini somehow found a second from a fine pass from Thabo Rakhale in the 70th minute.

Yet, Chiefs responded as Dumisani Zuma slotted home after good work from Arohasina Andrianarimanana.

The Glamour Boys showed great character and quality in the closing stages as Khama Billiat proved to be the provider in the 84th minute.

He sprinted down the left-hand side before his cross was flicked home by Parker beyond a stranded Mbongeni Mzimela in goal.

At the death, Billiat hit a stunner from distance to secure passage into the final to face TS Galaxy.

Arrows crash out to Galaxy in Nedbank Cup semis

TS Galaxy produced something of a shock as they came from behind to defeat Golden Arrows 3-1 in Saturday's Nedbank Cup semi-final in Durban.

It was a tight first half devoid of genuine scoring opportunities as both teams sparred with each other in all three thirds of the pitch.

Danny Venter did fire on target from distance towards the end of the first half but it sailed wide as the hosts struggled to get going.

Coach Steve Komphela introduced Sanele Mathenjwa early in the second stanza as he tried to find a way to break the deadlock.

The gamble paid off as Mathenjwa won the penalty which Knox Mutizwa converted with around 20 minutes left in the match.

Arrows had a great to chance to increase their lead but the opportunity was missed much to the relief of Dan Malesela on the sidelines. Mutizwa hit the woodwork where he may have done better.

Moments later in injury time the away outfit made them pay as Sandile Zuke put the ball into his own net as he tried to clear a ball in the area.

The encounter went to extra time and Galaxy found a winner in the second half of the added time. After a superb passing move, Zakhele Lepasa curled home into the top corner.

Arrows did head over from a free-kick but it was Lepasa who ended the home side's hopes with a late curling strike as he got his brace. They will now meet either Kaizer Chiefs or Chippa United in the final.

Guardiola holds De Bruyne fears

Pep Guardiola fears Kevin De Bruyne could miss the rest of the season after he was injured in Manchester City's 1-0 win over Tottenham.

City moved back to the top of the Premier League standings with a hard-fought victory over Spurs at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, with an early opener from Phil Foden proving to be the difference between the two sides.

The victory also acted as revenge for the Citizens, who were knocked out of the Champions League by Tottenham during the week, but it did seemingly come at a cost as influential midfielder De Bruyne was forced off with a muscular issue towards the end of the first half.

De Bruyne has had his fair share of fitness problems this season, with two separate knee injuries limiting him to just 11 Premier League starts.

Guardiola believes the 27-year-old's latest problem is a direct result of his previous injury issues.

'It was something muscular, which is normal after injuries and three or four games of a lot of minutes with no preparation,' Guardiola told City's official website.

The former Barcelona coach does not yet know the full extent of De Bruyne's injury but did admit his season could be over, with his involvement in Wednesday's Manchester derby at Old Trafford looking unlikely.

'I don't know,' Guardiola added. 'I didn't speak with him or the doctors. Maybe he will miss the four games and the FA Cup final. I don't know how big the impact is. 'We will see tomorrow but I think for the next game, he will be out.'

City back on top with victory over Spurs

Phil Foden’s first Premier League goal was enough for Man City as they got the better of Tottenham to reclaim top spot in the table.

City were able to gain a measure of revenge for their Champions League exit at the hands of Spurs as they edged a hard-fought encounter at the Etihad Stadium to make it 10 league wins on the bounce.

Tottenham will feel hard done by though having missed several good chances, while they could have had a penalty in the second half when Kyle Walker handled inside the box.

Man City were quick off the mark and took the lead thanks to Foden’s diving header.

The 18-year-old became the third youngest scorer in the competition’s history, nodding the ball into the back of the net from close range from Sergio Aguero’s header back across the six-yard box.

Pep Guardiola’s men dominated possession throughout the half but found it tough to open up Spurs, who had the better chances.

Heung-min Son was twice denied smartly by Ederson, who came out well to save at the South Korean’s feet after a mazy run on one occasion.

Christian Eriksen also had a great chance to equalise when played through on goal by Lucas Moura but, under pressure, he hit his strike straight at Ederson.

City’s half took a turn for the worse in the 38th minute when Kevin de Bruyne had to leave the field through injury, the latest setback for the Belgian in a season plagued by injury.

Chances were few and far between after the interval, Foden screwing an effort wide from 12 yards out after Spurs had failed to clear their lines.

Then came the big controversial moment in the game when Dele Alli flicked the ball back past Walker, only for the City right-back’s upper arm to knock the ball out of play.

Alli was convinced it should have been a spot kick but his protests fell on deaf ears as referee Michael Olivier waved him away.

Raheem Sterling then should have wrapped up the points when being picked out by Leroy Sane inside the penalty area, only to see the out-stretched leg of Paulo Gazzaniga deny him.

Lucas Moura then saw Ederson deny him a late equaliser as Spurs’ top-four hopes were dealt a blow.

The victory for City sets up a huge Manchester derby on Wednesday night as Pep Guardiola’s men head to Old Trafford to play their game in hand over title rivals Liverpool.

Madrid suffer Odriozola injury blow

Real Madrid defender Alvaro Odriozola will miss the remainder of the campaign after suffering a broken collarbone.

Spain international Odriozola joined Los Blancos last summer from Real Sociedad in a deal reportedly worth around 30million euros but he has struggled to cement down a regular first-team spot, making just 14 La Liga appearances.

The 23-year-old right-back will not be playing in any of the remaining matches after he broke his collarbone during a challenge with Vinicius Junior in a training session on Friday.

Odriozola will now be eyeing a return to action in time for pre-season for the 2019/20 campaign as Zinedine Zidane prepares for an overhaul of the squad after recently returning as head coach.

Madrid are back in action on Sunday when they welcome Athletic Bilbao to the Santiago Bernabeu as the hosts look to extend their unbeaten run to the three matches.

Kovac focused on one game at a time amid Bayern double talk

Niko Kovac has refused to discuss the possibility of Bayern Munich achieving the domestic double in Germany this season.

The 47-year-old Croatian recovered from a slow start in his debut season at the Allianz Arena to guide the Bavarians a point clear of rivals Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga as they look to defend their title this term.

Bayern have also reached the semi-finals of the DFB-Pokal, where they will travel to face Werder Bremen on Wednesday.

However, with a Bundesliga home clash against seventh-placed Bremen up first on Saturday, Kovac just wants to focus on one game and one competition at a time.

When asked about a possible double this term, Kovac told the club's website: 'We need to focus on the first game, we have to win that first.

'We're up against an opponent in really good form. They're still unbeaten this year and have scored in every game.'

On his own side, he added: 'Things are going well of late. We've played really well, scored a lot of goals and conceded very few. The team feels assured now.'

Galaxy don't want to face Chiefs, admits Mpakumpaku

TS Galaxy captain Ludwe Mpakumpaku has admitted the club don't want to play Kaizer Chiefs should they meet in the Nedbank Cup final as they are hungry for silverware.

Galaxy are set to take on Golden Arrows in the first semi-final on Saturday afternoon at 15:00 at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Durban.

Meanwhile, Chiefs meet Chippa United later in the evening in the second semi which is set to be played at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth. That encounter begins from 20:15.

Nonetheless, Mpakumpaku, who has spent his entire career so far in the National First Division, says his side have every chance of beating Arrows though meeting the Glamour Boys in the final wouldn't be ideal.

The 25-year-old said: "I don't think it matters because they also haven't actually won a cup in quite some years, I think it was in 2009 when they won the MTN8, so they are also desperate to win.

"That's also good because it means they won't be too calm, they'll also have nerves to actually try and beat us.

"We might be seen as the underdogs, but we can't be in the semi-finals and still be seen as underdogs.

"We just need to minimise the number of mistakes because they are a PSL side. The more we limit mistakes, the better our chances of winning.

"I, personally, would like to play Chippa. I think Chiefs have been struggling, they've been having a trophy drought.

"So, if they were to go to the final, I'm sure they would be more than switched on to make sure that they get something, because they won't be getting anything in the league as well.

"If we could go with Chippa [to the final], they also haven't won anything yet, but they're not considered a big team. So, no one would really expect them to actually [win it]."

Guardiola not certain of City reaction

Pep Guardiola admits he does not know how his Manchester City players will react when they take on Tottenham on Saturday.

Guardiola hopes his team can use their Champions League exit to motivate them in the remainder of the season but he admits he does not yet know how the players will react.

'Before the game you don't know how you will play,' he said. 'You never know how you'll react.

'But we were out (of the Champions League) other times and we reacted well. Tomorrow I want to see the same from my players - even (when) hurt, in tough moments, that's why we are professional.

'That is why we live an incredible life in this incredible club. We have to do it again.'

Guardiola has dismissed criticism over his approach in the two legs against Spurs, which ended with Spurs going through on away goals despite a 4-3 loss in Wednesday's thriller.

Guardiola said: 'We have to improve the defensive department in this stage of the competition and be more solid. In general, we want to improve.

'But people make mistakes, they play and make good actions or bad. We have to accept it.

'All season, not just these specific games, I'm proud. I like to see them play like this, I prefer this way. We're not going to change.

'No team creates the number of chances in Europe that we do. That's how I like to see my team. I will defend them until the last day but unfortunately we are not in the last stages.'

Downs are not Chiefs warns Lovers Mohlala to Baroka

Former Premiership star Lovers Mohlala has warned Baroka not to expect Mamelodi Sundowns to be as beatable as Kaizer Chiefs ahead of Saturday's league clash.

Bakgaga are at the wrong end of the table in a battle for survival but recently were boosted with a shock 1-0 victory over Chiefs on 6 April.

Meanwhile, for the visitors to the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday afternoon - a win is imperative if they are to maintain their title challenge behind leaders Orlando Pirates.

The Sea Robbers lead by six points while for Downs this is one of their two matches in hand. Coach Pitso Mosimane's men come into the contest on the back of a 2-0 loss to SuperSport United on Wednesday.

With that said, Mohlala, who played for the Brazilians between 1997 and 2003, takes the view that Downs won't be pushed aside as easily as the Glamour Boys.

Speaking to Soccer Laduma, he said: "I think for Baroka it's going to be difficult playing against Sundowns compared to when they played against Chiefs.

"Chiefs have already given up on the championship. I don't think the game against Baroka will be difficult for Sundowns. It will be an easy game for Sundowns.

"Baroka might play panicking against Sundowns because of their position on the log, as they are on relegation zone.

"When a club is in relegation zone, the minds of the players usually get affected. The players will go there to try and minimise mistakes (from previous matches), and in trying hard to do that, they could end up making more mistakes."

Kickoff is at 15:00 in Pietersburg.

Watford ace linked with Chelsea switch

If Chelsea are successful in overturning their transfer ban, they may make a move for Roberto Pereyra.

The Watford winger has been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge in the past and the Blues are expected to make another effort to land the 28-year-old if they get their transfer ban rescinded.

They have appealed the Uefa decision and are trying to get it overturned before the summer so that they can buy some new players, ahead of a title assault next season.

Watford technical director Filippo Giraldi believes that Pereyra is one of those that could become a Chelsea player in the future.

'I do not like to comment on transfer market speculation,' Giraldi told Italy's Radio Kiss Kiss.

'I think he can go to a great team, and I say it with all due respect to Torino ( who have also been linked with him) I see him as a potential Chelsea player.'

Liverpool need to keep improving - Klopp

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says the club must keep improving year on year as he targets silverware for the Reds.

Klopp has taken the side forward in every campaign and this season they have a Champions League semi-final to look forward to against Barcelona, while they are in the thick of battle with Manchester City for the title.

Until they actually win something though Klopp knows Liverpool have not yet reached their final destination of development and says they must keep improving to do so.

'A lot of people reminded me that when I first came here I signed a three-year contract and I said in four years if we're sat here we probably would have won something. It didn't happen yet,' he told the club's website.

'Both sides – the club and myself – have a wonderful commitment that we really try everything to make the club as successful as possible. How long it will take, I have no clue. The position we are now in I am really happy with.

'Not that it is the final position where we want to be, but the awareness from outside of the club, where we are, second time in the Champions League semi-final – that is really special.

'It's a good moment but it's not where we want to be at the end. We have a lot to improve. Our problem is the other teams do not sleep and have made a lot of good decisions as well. I don't know how long it will take.'

Pitso admits Sundowns are the walking wounded

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane says his side are feeling the toll of Premiership and CAF Champions League football and have a number of players unavailable.

Sundowns have been battling on all fronts virtually all season and have been playing at times nearly three games-a-week.

Last Saturday they lost 1-0 to Al Ahly in a CAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg in Egypt (Downs won 5-1 on aggregate) before flying back and losing 2-0 to SuperSport United on Wednesday.

This Saturday they face Baroka in a must-win PSL clash if they are to maintain a title challenge behind league-leading Orlando Pirates.

Nonetheless, Mosimane revealed that Lebohang Maboe, Thapelo Morena, Oupa Manyisa and Denis Onyango are all struggling with illness and injury as a result of the heavy workload. Anthony Laffor is also out with a knee injury while Gaston Sirino is suspended.

He said: "You know where we're coming from, we're coming from war.

"We still have casualties. We're still licking our wounds. We didn't change the team [that played Al Ahly] because we wanted to refresh the legs (v SuperSport), we changed the team because of forced changes.

"Lebo [Maboe] has tonsils. Thapelo [Morena] has hamstring. Oupa [Manyisa] has ankle that is recurring and disturbing him.

"He did well in Cairo. Nevermind [Gaston] Sirino that is suspended but he is injured. Denis Onyango you saw they kicked his knee at the back [in Cairo]."

Kickoff in the clash against Bakgaga is at 15:00 at the Peter Mokaba Stadium.

Doctor Khumalo tears Al Ahly apart for Downs' treatment

South African football legend Doctor Khumalo has slammed the behavior of Al Ahly players and fans during the recent CAF Champions League second leg quarterfinal in Egypt.

Sundowns tore the Club of the Century to shreds in the first leg - winning 5-0 in Pretoria. However, in the second leg there was plenty of intimidatory tactics used including bad fouls and harassing of the match officials.

The Egyptian giants would go on to win the game 1-0 yet Downs secured the 5-1 aggregate victory and now face Wydad Casablanca in the semi-finals.

Nonetheless, Khumalo was scathing in his assessment of Ahly. He told Soccer Laduma: "I'm so disappointed in Ahly and their attitude stank on Saturday! With that behaviour, even if I was in Europe I wouldn't utter a word about Ahly and how well they've done over the years.

"They just didn't show a true reflection of African football and, like I said, what we saw on Saturday was ugly! They've lost my respect and I'm very disappointed in them. They came to Tshwane and were given a five-star treatment, lost fair and square, and then they repay Sundowns like that?

Losing is part of the game and you'd expect better from an experienced side like them. If there's an upcoming talent in international football, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi can't be bitter about that, they will embrace the young talent.

"Surely, Ahly should know better and appreciate the new kid on the block that is Sundowns. I must say, Ahly, you can keep all your stars above your badge, but your behaviour left so much to be desired! Who gave you a right not to lose? Who told you (that) you've got the best and unbeatable team? You must be fooling yourselves if you think you won't lose. You can do much better than that and I still can't believe you refused to accept the defeat and move on, like real champions.

"Who the hell do they think they are? You know, this is the same attitude we've always experienced even with their national team. Clearly, nothing has changed and they still don't want to accept defeat. They need to show more respect for the game. Their behaviour was unacceptable!"

Solskjaer sees no hiding place for under-performing United players

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes some members of his squad need a 'reality check' ahead of a pivotal few weeks for the club.

A 3-0 humbling at the hands of Barcelona in midweek saw United knocked out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage, a defeat which also meant they have now lost five of their past seven matches.

United face a battle to qualify for Europe's elite club competition next season but while Solskjaer is satisfied with the attitude of the majority of his squad, he delivered a remarkable broadside at others.

Speaking ahead of this weekend's Premier League visit to Everton on Sunday, the United manager said: 'I've learned a lot about them over the months I've been here now.

'You get to know them, most of them have really impressed me in their attitude and there are some that need to get a reality check on where they're at. 'When you're out there, there is no hiding place, you can't hide and everyone can see where your levels are at.

'We're also working on training here with a fantastic staff I've got to create this culture that we want.

'You've got players to take ownership of what's happening here as well. But of course it's the performances on the pitch which will determine where they're at in their careers. But most of them know they can improve if they keep working as they do.'

One of those who attracted Solskjaer's discontent is Anthony Martial, who signed a new five-year contract in January but has delivered a string of underwhelming performances in recent weeks.

The Norwegian added: 'I've spoken to individuals and they know, and Anthony's one of them, I've spoken to all of them individually what we expect from them. 'Anthony's got a massive talent, he's signed a new contract, he knows that we believe in him so just keep on working.

'I think anyone that plays for Manchester United has to deliver to stay in the squad and stay in the team. Anthony's no different to (Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez) or the many forwards that we have to choose from.'

Pochettino ready for another tough battle

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is out to derail Manchester City's season again on Saturday but knows they will be fired up.

Spurs ended City's quadruple bid when they sealed a dramatic away-goals win in the Champions League on Wednesday night and they could deliver a massive blow to their Premier League title hopes in the lunchtime kick-off on Saturday.

City boss Pep Guardiola has previously said his side needs to win all of their remaining games if they are to retain their title and they will go back to the top of the pile if they beat Spurs.

Guardiola believes the hurt from Wednesday's extraordinary game will serve as motivation, but Pochettino has denied City will be out for revenge.

"Not revenge," he said. "For sure, they are going to move on like us from the Champions League to the Premier League.

"They are going to fight for a massive thing which is to win the Premier League and the principal challenge is to win the Premier League for them."

Bilankulu: Arrows have whole of KZN on our shoulders

Golden Arrows defender Musa Bilankulu says the club feel the weight of pressure from the people of KwaZulu-Natal ahead of Saturday's Nedbank cup semi-final against TS Galaxy.

Arrows appear to have an excellent opportunity to advance to the final of the competition as they are facing a mid-table National First Division side.

Abafana Bes'thende won the tournament in 2009 with a famous 6-0 victory over Ajax Cape Town and Bilankulu says there are positive omens in 2019 about repeating the success.

Speaking to Isolezwe, the 34-year-old said: "Everybody is happy and there is a jovial mood in camp because we have two games at home if everything goes according to plan.

"We are under pressure because we have the whole of KwaZulu-Natal on our shoulders. You will remember we have played three away games in the Nedbank Cup competition. We hope and believe that the football Gods are looking upon us.

"Everything depends on us in terms of making sure that we use this advantage and become successful.

"I believe that this is our season because in 2009 I was here and the mood in the camp is more of the same.

"It's obvious that we are one of the most dangerous teams and things seem to fall into place when we are in a year ending with (2009 and 2019).

"Everybody is aware of the possibilities if we win these two games. I am talking about the doors that will open for the youngsters. We have a team made up of youngsters and if we win the Nedbank Cup, we will play in the Caf Confederation Cup.

"That will definitely help to develop the youngsters because their peers from the likes of Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns may look better than them since they have experienced continental football."

Kickoff is at 15:00 at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Durban.

Malesela compares TS Galaxy's philosophy to Sundowns

TS Galaxy coach Dan 'Dance' Malesela insists his side will stick to their possession football brand of playing in Saturday's afternoon's Nedbank Cup semi-final against Golden Arrows.

Speaking ahead of the clash at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium, Malesela said that a top team in South African football like Mamelodi Sundowns rarely change their philosophy to playing the game therefore neither would Galaxy.

He told reporters: "You can't say there's no pressure, there's always pressure. You will see with a game sometimes, during the week, training is fine but come matchday then you see there's panic.

"But because I have experience of being in this situation before, I know how to deal with it. We have [a realistic chance].

"Other teams have been ousted by lower league teams, some have struggled against lower league teams, even past the First Division. It's how you handle yourself on the day that speaks volumes.

"I don't know how to do that [play on the counter]. I know how to play football, I know that we need to play football as a team, that's what these players have been trained to do.

"We do almost the same thing in every match, so the minute we start changing then we'll be confusing them.

"There are teams in world football that will never change, you cannot say Sundowns changes and they play like this, eventually they get tempted to do something they are used to."

Saturday's action gets underway from 15:00 in Durban.

Premier League preview: Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur

Manchester City will be looking to move back to the Premier League summit on Saturday when they play host to Tottenham Hotspur.

The Citizens would overhaul Liverpool, who are not in action until Sunday when they travel to Cardiff, into first place with a victory in what will be the third meeting between these two teams in the last 12 days.

Spurs and City both picked up a win each across the two legs of their Champions League quarter-final clash – a tie which Tottenham progressed from on away goals after the aggregate score finished 4-4.

Pep Guardiola’s men will be eyeing revenge for that European exit and they are on a sensational run of form at home, having won their last 13 matches while they have suffered just one defeat from their last 23 games at the Etihad Stadium.

Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho could be fit to start, having played as a substitute in midweek, while Oleksandr Zinchenko will be assessed as he closes in on a return from a hamstring injury.

Tottenham, who are third in the standings heading into the match, will be riding high after reaching the CL semi-finals and they were on a three-game winning run before losing 4-3 to City in midweek.

Away form has been the issue for Spurs and they have lost seven of their last eight on the road, while they haven’t won at the Etihad in their last four trips.

France international Moussa Sissoko is expected to miss the clash with a groin problem while captain Harry Kane and Ivorian defender Serge Aurier are definitely out of the contest.

Premier League preview: Everton v Manchester United

Nemanja Matic and Alexis Sanchez could return to Premier League action for Manchester United at Everton on Sunday.

Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said that several of the injured players in his Manchester United squad are close to returning to full fitness.

Sanchez has not played a Premier League game since suffering a knee injury in the 3-2 victory over Southampton at the beginning of March, but did make a brief cameo appearance as a substitute in their 3-0 loss at Barcelona on Tuesday night.

Matic has missed the last four games through a combination of injury and illness, but he could also feature against the Toffees this weekend.

"We’ll have 20 [players] training this morning [Friday], plus the keepers, which is not bad," Ole told MUTV.

"Nemanja and Alexis had a good session yesterday [Thursday] as well, so they will probably be involved.

"Ander Herrera and Eric Bailly, neither of whom have played for the Reds this month due to injury, are also edging closer to first-team returns.

"Ander is back in training – he’s been working really hard.

"Eric will be back in training over the weekend, Antonio we’re not sure about yet," the boss added.

But Luke Shaw is out on Sunday as he serves the second game in a two-match Premier League ban for picking up 10 yellow cards.

For Everton, only suspended Andre Gomes and injured Yerry Mina will be unavailable.

The Toffees, who are unbeaten in their last three home games, are looking to bounce back from last week’s shock 2-0 away defeat to relegated Fulham.

Boss Marco Silva told the media in his Thursday media briefing that Mina is the only injury absentee, as the Colombian centre-back remains sidelined with the hamstring injury he sustained playing for his country last month.

On-loan Barcelona midfielder Gomes will serve the first game of a three-match ban following his red card in Everton‘s defeat at Craven Cottage.

Morgan Schneiderlin is ready to return after an ankle injury against his former club.

Silva said: "We have big respect for Manchester United, but if we can reach the level we have reached in our last three home games it will be really tough for them.

"They are different coaches and different formations, because with [Ole Gunnar] Solskjaer they are changing many times, and not just playing with one system or one formation.

"They have quality players and they can play with six or seven different players in the attack line.

"They have shown us why they have high quality, but I am 100 per cent sure we can make it tough for them."

Premier League preview: Cardiff City v Liverpool

Liverpool go in search of a crucial three points when they make the trip to Cardiff City on Sunday.

The Reds are still embroiled in a tight battle for the Premier League title with Manchester City and the Merseysiders head to Wales having booked their place in the semi-finals of the Champions League on Wednesday evening.

Liverpool racked up a 4-1 victory in Porto to extend their winning run in all competitions to eight matches, while Jurgen Klopp’s men also stretched their unbeaten run to 17 games.

The German tactician is expected to have Croatian defender Dejan Lovren available after he missed the European trip due to illness, while Joe Gomez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are also in contention.

"We will see. Dejan was ill so he should be available again, we will see that," Klopp said at a press conference.

"Pretty much all the rest should be available, I heard nothing after the Porto game.

"Always after games, a few players have slight, little problems but nothing really serious – so it should be OK, [they] should all be in."

Cardiff picked up a valuable three points at the AMEX Stadium last time out to move to within two points of Brighton and the Welsh outfit are feeling bullish about their chances of survival.

The Bluebirds will need a significant improvement to get the better of Liverpool, who have won the past three meetings in which they have scored a massive 13 goals.

Neil Warnock is without defender Sol Bamba, who is out long-term with a serious knee injury, while goalkeeper Alex Smithies and Matthew Connolly are also on the sidelines.

Callum Paterson, who scored in the reverse fixture at Anfield, will miss out with an ankle issue, while there are doubts over the fitness of midfield duo Aron Gunnarsson and Harry Arter, who are nursing back and calf problems respectively.