Ajax ready for English test

Matthijs de Ligt says Ajax are unconcerned whether they face Manchester City or Tottenham in the Champions League semi-finals.

The Eredivisie side stunned Juventus on Tuesday evening, coming from behind to win their last-eight second leg 2-1 in Turin.

Cristiano Ronaldo put the Italian's in front in the first half only for Donny van de Beek to level quickly after.

De Ligt, the teenage skipper at Ajax, headed home midway through the second half to ensure 2-1 win on the night and a deserved 3-2 passage overall.

The 19-year-old central defender says they have no preference ahead of Tottenham taking on Man City on Wednesday evening, with Mauricio Pochettino's team carrying a slender 1-0 lead into the second leg.

"At the moment I don't have any preference," he said. "We will see who is coming to the semi-final and then we have to show the same [as we did in Turin]."

De Ligt hailed Ajax's 'unbelievable' achievement after the Dutch club ended their 22-year wait for a Champions League semi-final appearance by adding Juventus to the scalp of European champions Real Madrid in the last-16, both wins coming via impressive successes on their travels.

"It's unbelievable what we achieved, we are a squad from the Netherlands and we show the world what we can do," he added.

"We showed it in the Bernabeu (against Madrid), we showed it against Bayern Munich (at the group stage) and now we showed it against Juventus.

"But we are never satisfied and the next game is also going to be important, we'll see what happens."

Ajax are 7/1 to win the Champions League this season, with Barcelona now 15/8 having eliminated Manchester United on Tuesday. Tottenham are 10/1 ahead of their trip to the Etihad Stadium.

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‘Collective’ effort pleases Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino hailed his squad after they overcame injury worries to push aside relegated Huddersfield 4-0 at the Tottenham Stadium.

Lucas Moura scored a brilliant hat-trick as Spurs made it three wins from three games in their new home, leapfrogging Chelsea to retake third spot in the Premier League as they did.

With Harry Kane an Dele Alli ruled out having sustained injuries in the midweek Champions League win over Manchester City, Pochettino turned to Moura and Fernando Llorente to spearhead his attack.

The home side deservedly went ahead when Victor Wanyama went around Ben Hamer and slotted home midway through the first half, with Moura adding their second just two minutes later as he rifled a low shot into the net.

The Brazilian then scored two quick goals late on to round off a pleasing afternoon for Pochettino.

With one eye firmly on Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final second leg, Spurs made seven changes to the starting side that beat City 1-0 in the first leg.

"I am so pleased. Football is about the squad, the collective. Of course we had some injuries after Manchester City like Alli and Kane, and we were forced to make changes and we needed to provide fresh legs and it's good because we have a tough period ahead and the performance was very professional," the manager declared.

"It's always important to open the game and score in the first half to give belief and confidence. After a few minutes we score the second goal and lift the stadium and fans – it's fantastic to play here and gives the players fantastic energy and belief."

Spurs are 9/1 to win at the Etihad Stadium in midweek, with Man City 2/7 for the second leg. Pochettino's team are 6/5 to qualify for the semi-finals.

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Pep unflustered after loss

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is refusing to panic even though his side lost 1-0 to Tottenham in their Champions League quarter-final first leg tie.

City, who have already won the EFL Cup this season and are also aiming to land the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup, are 13/2 to win next week's second leg 2-0 and 7/10 to qualify for the semi-finals.

Sergio Aguero missed a first-half penalty for City after Danny Rose was adjudged to have handled the ball before Son Heung-min grabbed the only goal of Tuesday's match.

Guardiola was pleased with his side's overall performance in the capital though and was unflustered after the game, particularly as City had lost 3-0 at Liverpool in the first leg of last season's quarter-final.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager said: "Last season was much worse. Except for a few chances we conceded in set-pieces and some counter-attacks, we controlled the game and played quite well.

"I would have liked us to score a goal but the situation is what it is. Spurs are a team that press a lot but they couldn't do that – especially in the second half, when we arrived many times in the final third.

"We played so well on the second ball. Next week, hopefully our fans can support us every single minute."

Meanwhile, City are 15/2 to beat Crystal Palace1-0 at Selhurst Park on Sunday.

Kane’s injury mars victory

Mauricio Pochettino fears Harry Kane may not play again this season after the Tottenham striker suffered an ankle injury in the victory against Manchester City.

Kane had to be substituted during the 1-0 Champions League quarter-final first leg win against Pep Guardiola's side after being caught by Fabian Delph.

The England captain spent more than a month on the sidelines after sustaining ligament damage in January.

Spurs are 21/20 to qualify for the semi-finals of the Champions League after Tuesday's narrow triumph which came courtesy of a second-half goal from Son Heung-min.

In the first half Hugo Lloris saved Sergio Aguero's spot-kick after VAR had ruled that Danny Rose had deliberately handled the ball.

Pochettino said of Kane's injury after the match: "If you see the action it is an action that can damage the ligament again. We need to check in the next few days.

"It is so painful. We hope it is not a big issue and try to recover as soon as possible but it doesn't look good."

Asked if Kane's season could be over, Pochettino replied: "Yes."

Of his side's display, the former Southampton manager added: "Of course I am so happy. I am happy with the performance and the way we approached the game.

"We still have a lot of work to do. Manchester City are still the favourites to win the Champions League and it is going to be tough."

Spurs return to Premier League action on Saturday when they entertain relegated Huddersfield Town. Pochettino's team are 8/13 to score in both halves against the Terriers and 7/1 to win the match 2-0.

Reds get out of jail

Liverpool kept their title hopes alive as Toby Alderweireld scored a dramatic stoppage time own-goal in a 2-1 win for the Reds over Tottenham at Anfield.

Lucas Moura's goal midway through the second half looked certain to have earned Spurs a share of the spoils and poured cold water on the title hopes of Jurgen Klopp's side.

The home side went in front just after the quarter hour, Andy Robertson's teasing cross from the left headed downward into the net to Roberto Firmino.

It was Spurs that upped the ante in the second period however, looking dangerous long before Moura's strike.

He was there to slot home from six-yards on 70 minutes after excellent work from Harry Kane, Kieran Trippier and Christian Eriksen.

That looked like being decisive until the final minute of normal time. A Liverpool corner was only partially cleared and from Trent Alexander-Arnold's high cross, Salah's header was not dealt with by Hugo Lloris, who punched the ball into Alderweireld and it cannoned over the goal line off the central defender.

The dramatic late piece of fortune sent Liverpool back to the top of the table, two points clear of Manchester City, with a game more played.

Klopp admitted he didn't care how Liverpool had gained their victory on this occasion.

"City last year were champions and are still pretty good. We have to fight like crazy. The crowd was outstanding. They were really here to push us and at the end it helped," said the Liverpool manager.

"It is only positive. I said there are 500 ways to win a football game and today was slightly ugly. Who cares?

"I am really happy we don't have any breaks now. We compete with the best team in world for one position and that is really hard."

Liverpool are 7/4 to win the Premier League, with Man City now 4/9. Spurs meanwhile are 8/13 to finish in the top four after their latest setback.

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Klopp welcomes trio back

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has revealed that Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Xherdan Shaqiri have all been able to return to training.

Alexander-Arnold was forced to miss England's recent Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Montenegro while Shaqiri withdrew from the Switzerland squad for their games with Georgia and Denmark.

Gomez has been sidelined since early December when he broke his leg during the victory against Burnley.

Klopp said: "Yesterday [Thursday] they were all in training, for all three pretty much the first full session, so we have to see how they react.

"There was actually no alternative for Shaq and Trent, not being involved in the games in that period. Anything else would have been really crazy because they needed that, they needed treatment, needed rehab and all that stuff.

"Joe was back yesterday after 15 weeks, what a long time, but yesterday it looked really good. Of course, it's early stages and he is really now adapting again to proper football training after having thousands of rehab sessions.

"They should all be OK, I heard nothing different this morning since I've been here, so they should be OK. They will train again today [Friday] and then we will see."

Liverpool, 2/1 to win the Premier League title this season, face Tottenham on Sunday and can be backed at 8/13 to win the crunch clash at Anfield.

Spurs are currently available at 4/9 to finish in the top four this season despite only managing to pick up one point from their last four matches.

Kane keen to move to next level

Harry Kane has admitted that it will be difficult for Tottenham to win any silverware in the next two years because of their new stadium and the club's finances.

Spurs, who visit Liverpool on Sunday, are currently third in the Premier League table and 4/9 to finish in the top four for the fourth campaign in a row.

However, they have stumbled badly in the league in the last few weeks and have only picked up one point from the last four matches, although they have confirmed their place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League by knocking Borussia Dortmund out.

Spurs have not won a trophy since they lifted the League Cup in 2008 and England captain Kane accepts that they need some tangible success in the next few years.

However, he knows it will not easy for Mauricio Pochettino's side as the club will be under financial strain because of their new £1billion stadium.

"A lot of people say this is maybe the best team we've had, maybe the best team we'll ever have, and the best manager, but it's important we have something to show for it," said Kane.

"It's not just when we look back in 10 years, we had a great team. It's, 'Look what they did. Look what they won'.

"The challenge for us is, can we keep going up and up and up? It's going to be difficult in the next couple of years with the stadium and the finances.

"We've done so much in a short space of time. Of course we want to go on to the next level, win the Premier League and win trophies."

Kane is 5/1 to score the first goal at Anfield for a Spurs team that can be backed at 5/1 to inflict only a second Premier League loss of the campaign on Liverpool.

Poch: We need to show more

Mauricio Pochettino accepts that Tottenham will have to "move to the next level" if they are to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Spurs produced a solid display on Tuesday to win 1-0 at the Westfalenstadion and seal a 4-0 aggregate success against Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16.

Harry Kane scored the only goal of the second leg four minutes into the second half to effectively end the tie as a contest after Dortmund had created numerous chances before the break with Hugo Lloris keeping out efforts by Marco Reus, Mario Goetze and Julian Weigl.

"For me, to move to the next level or the last level, I think it is not only today to show a very professional performance," Pochettino said after the match.

"It is so important to be in the quarter-final, but you need to show more if you want to be at the next level.

"To build that possibility to be at the same level as the clubs that we are talking about, you need to start from the first step always. We are in the middle or 70 per cent of moving forward."

Spurs, who were knocked out of last season's Champions League by Juventus at the same stage, had only taken one point from their last three Premier League fixtures. They are 4/11 to finish in the top four this season. Meanwhile, they can be backed at 14/1 to win the Champions League.

"We fully deserved this. We scored four goals, did not concede and this was against a team that is top of the Bundesliga with great players," added Pochettino.

"Job done. I am happy for our players, for the fans. We suffered a bit in the first half but it is very important to be in the quarter-final."

Spurs are 4/5 to beat Southampton at St Mary's in the Premier League on Saturday.

Spurs duo to be assessed

Tottenham duo Jan Vertonghen and Harry Winks are struggling with hip injuries and could be forced to sit out Saturday's north London derby.

Vertonghen missed the midweek 2-0 defeat at Chelsea although Winks did feature in all 90 minutes at Stamford Bridge.

Meanwhile, Dele Alli (hamstring) and Eric Dier (tonsillitis) look set to miss the Wembley encounter against Arsenal, which Spurs are 21/20 to win. Mauricio Pochettino's team have lost their last two Premier League games and are 1/3 to finish in the top four this term. Spurs are four points above Arsenal heading into the derby clash.

"I think the feeling is a little bit weird," admitted Pochettino. "It should be that everyone before the start of the season [would] sign to be in the position that we're in today, and you're [saying to] me, 'It's only four points, that Arsenal or Manchester United are below us, or Chelsea.'

"I think we're living in different realities because, with all the circumstances, Tottenham deserve big praise to be in the position that we're in at this moment of the season.

"Of course we're disappointed in the last two results but we need to keep going and trust in our team. It's going to be tough on Saturday but we believe we can deliver a good job."

Harry Kane is 8/11 to score at any time on Saturday while a 1-1 draw in the north London derby is available at 13/2.

Poch looks at the positives

Mauricio Pochettino insists he is not feeling the pressure even after his Tottenham side slumped to a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Chelsea.

The setback comes on the back of Saturday's 2-1 loss at Burnley and leaves Spurs looking over their shoulders at the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Maurizio Sarri's team as the race for a top-four finish hots up.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side are just five points behind Spurs who face Arsenal, who are fourth and only four points behind, in a crunch north London derby at Wembley this weekend.

Spurs are 1/3 to finish in the top four and 1/1 to beat the Gunners, who are 9/2 to win the Europa League this season.

"I am not afraid. I have freedom in my mind, I have the same feeling I had before," Pochettino said.

"If people are scared now about the top four, that is football. It's a massive business for sure but we need to enjoy it, playing football.

"Everyone from the beginning of the season would have signed up to be in this position before playing on Saturday.

"Everyone would have signed for that eight or 10 months ago in June or July, to be, today, with the possibility of playing against Arsenal at Wembley with the gap at four points. The pressure is on them, not only us. Them too, surely."