Poch confirms Sissoko problem

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Moussa Sissoko is facing around a fortnight on the sidelines due to a groin strain sustained in the Champions League clash with Manchester City last week.

The 29-year-old France international had to be replaced just before half-time of a 4-3 defeat which was still enough for Spurs to reach the semi-finals in Europe, where they will face Ajax.

Sissoko sat out the subsequent 1-0 Premier League reverse to the Citizens last Saturday and is a definite absentee for the league visit of Brighton to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Head coach Mauricio Pochettino also confirmed that late decisions will be taken on midfielder Harry Winks and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris for the clash with the Seagulls, but it is Sissoko who is his main concern.

He told reporters: "Moussa Sissoko is not going to be fit, maybe for the next two weeks. We hope he can recover before, but I am not so optimistic."

Meanwhile, Pochettino is confident that his players will not lose focus for the job of securing a top-four league finish, despite the looming prospect of their Champions League last-four tie.

He added: "We are not thinking of Ajax. We showed at Manchester City that we are thinking in the now and this competition, the Premier League.

"Now our energy is in Brighton. It is so clear that we have two objectives – one is to be in the top four at the end of the season and the other is to beat Ajax, but we need to go step-by-step.

"The players, they know it. I think their behaviour and mentality is perfect."

Spurs are available at 4/11 to defeat Brighton on Tuesday evening and are 11/2 to do so by a 2-0 scoreline, with Son Heung-Min 1/1 to score at any time in the game.

View all Soccer betting

Klopp aims to find Barca flaws

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says he will try to find some useful clues as to how his side can defeat Barcelona in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

The Reds roared through to the last four with a 4-1 win at FC Porto, with the Merseysiders claiming a 6-1 aggregate success to move one step closer to repeating their run to the final of the competition last season.

And Klopp is hoping that watching how others team have tried to tame Barca, who knocked out Manchester United in the quarter-finals, will be of some benefit to his players.

He told his post-match press briefing: "We are in the semi-final, we play against Barcelona, you can imagine I don't think too much about it, but I'm really happy about the fact that we play them.

"We will find things where we think we probably could use it or whatever. So many teams who tried it already and maybe we find something.

"I'm looking forward to it, it's brilliant. The news that there's a competition, a proper football game between Barcelona and Liverpool, I think that's really good news.

"I'm happy for all the people in the club that it's like this; second time in two years in the semi-final. That's a big statement.

"However you go there (to Barcelona), it's difficult. Everybody tries it and nobody did it (won there) in the last two years."

Liverpool are available at 5/2 to win the Champions League this season, with Barcelona priced at 6/4 and Ajax 9/2.

View all Soccer betting

Spurs belief impresses Pochettino

Tottenham Hotspur head coach Mauricio Pochettino hailed the character of his team after they reached the Champions League semi-finals at the expense of Manchester City.

Spurs were beaten 4-3 in the second leg of their quarter-final at the Etihad Stadium, but a 1-0 win in the first leg meant that they progressed on away goals, with a Fernando Llorente strike in Manchester eventually proving to be crucial.

And Pochettino was clearly emotional after watching his team in action and setting up a last-four showdown with Ajax, who have knocked out both Real Madrid and Juventus on their way to the semi-finals.

He told reporters: "I am more than happy, I am more than proud. To be in the semis was a dream, now we are there.

"(It is) one of the most important times in my career like a manager, of course, one of the best.

"Sport always gives you the possibility to beat teams that no-one believes or thinks we are capable of (beating).

"Football is not only about talent, but belief and to have the right mentality. This team has the personality, character and mentality to believe all is possible.

"With the quality, we can have this type of performance and achieve these big things. If not, it's impossible."

The second Champions League semi-final sees Liverpool take on Barcelona, with the Reds having won 4-1 at Porto to complete a 6-1 aggregate victory in their last-eight tie.

Liverpool are priced at 5/2 to win the Champions League, with Tottenham 9/2 and Barcelona 6/4.

View all Soccer betting

City told to stand up and react

Manchester City will have to react quickly to their Champions League exit according to head coach Pep Guardiola, with the Premier League title still in their hands.

The Citizens crashed out of the Champions League despite a 4-3 win at home to Spurs in the second leg of their quarter-final tie, with the Londoners progressing on away goals – having won the first leg 1-0.

And, with a crunch Premier League clash against the same Tottenham side next on the agenda at lunchtime on Saturday, Guardiola accepts that he and his players simply have to move on quickly.

The Spaniard told reporters: "It's tough, it's cruel, but we have to accept it. We have to stand up and react. It is a close (short amount of) time and the same team. We can't think too much now.

"We have fought for nine or 10 months in the Premier League and still we are there. It is in our hands. Today is tough and tomorrow will be tough too, but the day after we will be ready."

The Citizens are currently in second place in the Premier League standings, two points behind Liverpool, but with a game in hand.

That extra match comes up next Tuesday, when City head to Old Trafford for a derby showdown with United, who were also eliminated from the Champions League this week – being knocked out by Barcelona.

The Citizens are 1/4 to defeat Tottenham on Saturday and are 14/1 to win the game 2-1, with City 8/11 to eventually retain their Premier League title come the end of the season.

View all Soccer betting

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.

View all Soccer betting

Pochettino waits on injured Alli

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has indicated that Dele Alli may be fit enough to start Wednesday's Champions League clash at Manchester City.

Alli broke his hand in last week's first leg, which Spurs won 1-0, but has been able to return to training.

The 23-year-old missed Saturday's 4-0 drubbing of Huddersfield Town, but Pochettino said: "We need to assess him. We are going to have the last training session and then we have to decide whether it is possible for him to play from the start or be on the bench."

Meanwhile, the Argentinian has praised Heung-Min Son, who scored the only goal against City last week.

The South Korean has been outstanding since Harry Kane picked up his latest injury and has 18 goals in all competitions for Spurs this season.

Son was involved for his country at World Cup 2018 and then at the Asia Cup, with Pochettino saying of the 26-year-old: "He's doing a fantastic job this season. Since November I've been so happy with him. Before that he was involved in the Asia Cup and it was difficult for him.

"It's not just about Son though. Without Harry Kane, the players need to step up. With Harry Kane, Son was doing a fantastic job. Now I think we need, like always, a collective effort and to be strong and have the belief and the mentality to fight."

Of Wednesday's match against Pep Guardiola's team, former Southampton boss Pochettino added: "It's going to be tough. Manchester City are one of the best teams in the world and a clear favourite to win the Premier League and the Champions League.

"For us to beat them in the first leg was an amazing result but we know very well the tie is still open. But what we have is the faith and belief that we can be strong and we can fight. It's going to be an amazing challenge. I am so excited and motivated."

Spurs are available at 6/5 to qualify for the semi-finals of the Champions League while Son is 3/1 to score at any time in Wednesday's match.

Stones seeks perfect start

Manchester City defender John Stones has said ahead of the game against Tottenham that all the club's players are dreaming about winning the Champions League this season.

The defending Premier League champions go into Wednesday's quarter-final second-leg clash 1-0 down following last week's first match in London.

Stones, who is unsure whether he will be in Pep Guardiola's starting line-up for the vital clash, is desperate to help the club win the Champions League for the first time in their history.

City, who reached the semi-finals of European club football's most prestigious competition in 2015/16 and the last eight 12 months ago, are 11/4 to win the Champions League this season.

Guardiola's team are 8/13 to qualify for the semi-finals and 7/1 to win Wednesday's match 2-0.

Former Barnsley and Everton defender Stones said: "To be in big games and fighting for everything is a privileged position to be in. We have to take every opportunity and every moment.

"I'm not sure yet if I will start – nobody knows. After the first game, it was obvious we didn't want to come away from it with a defeat, but there's still everything to play for – everything.

"One goal and we go from there. That's how we approach the game and it's so close.

"Winning this competition is something we are all dreaming of and all want to achieve as a club. If you don't dream big and believe in yourself, team-mates, staff, you won't get anywhere near it.

"Everyone knows how big the game is and how important it is to us as a club."

Ill Lovren to miss Porto clash

Jurgen Klopp has revealed that Dejan Lovren has not travelled to Portugal for Liverpool's Champions League clash with Porto because he is ill.

The Croatian defender was not included in the 21-man squad for the quarter-final second-leg tie but Adam Lallana is available while Jordan Henderson has recovered from an ankle knock and should feature in the game.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain played for the Reds' Under-23 side at Leicester City on Sunday but will not be involved in Portugal as Liverpool attempt to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Liverpool won last week's first leg at Anfield 2-0 thanks to goals by Naby Keita and Roberto Firmino and are 17/2 to win the second match by the same scoreline with Henderson available at 8/1 to score at any time in the encounter.

Klopp said: "Dejan is ill. He had a bad night. He had no chance to travel. That is the reason for that.

"We have Joe (Gomez), so should be fine for that. We have Fabinho for the position, so that should be OK. We never forced it and we cannot force it.

"Pretty much all the rest are travelling; Ox is not, it makes more sense for him to train here. However much we all love having Ox around, it makes absolute sense for him that he stays here.

"Adam (Lallana) is back in the travelling squad. Hendo is all fine. The other players are all fine, that's really good. Nothing happened. We all have knocks and Hendo got a knock, but that would never take him out."

Liverpool are available at 10/3 to win the Champions League this season and at 11/10 to clinch the Premier League title.

Allegri insists he’s staying

Massimiliano Allegri is adamant that he will still be at Juventus next season after watching his side exit the Champions League at the hands of Ajax on Tuesday.

The Dutch side came from behind to beat the Serie A leaders 2-1 in Turin and seal a 3-2 quarter-final aggregate triumph.

Allegri has led Juventus to four successive league and cup doubles and two Champions League finals, and they are almost certain to wrap up another domestic title this weekend.

Cristiano Ronaldo headed the Old Lady into a first-half lead but Ajax, who knocked the holders Real Madrid out in the last round, hit back to win the tie thanks to goals by Donny van de Beek and Matthijs de Ligt.

"I have already talked with the president. I will remain at Juve next season and we are already planning the next campaign," said Allegri.

"Ronaldo gave us a lot during the season and especially in the Champions League. Ajax are a great team, I cannot say much to my players.

"Ajax have several good players and play good football, they are no underdogs. How they can be after scoring five goals against Real Madrid?

"I would not say that this is our worst elimination. Juventus have always the same objective: winning everything. Sometimes you can reach the final, sometimes you can't."

Ajax can be backed at 7/1 to win the Champions League this season while Juventus are available at 1/2 to beat Fiorentina in their next Serie A match on Saturday.

Solskjaer ready to make changes

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows that he faces a major rebuilding job as he attempts to strengthen a Manchester United side that exited the Champions League on Tuesday.

United slumped to a comprehensive 3-0 defeat to Barcelona at the Nou Camp in the second leg of their quarter-final clash as they suffered a 4-0 aggregate defeat to the La Liga leaders.

Lionel Messi scored twice before Philippe Coutinho added a superb third goal in the 61st minute for a Barcelona side that are now 15/8 to win the Champions League outright.

In contrast United are struggling to secure a top-four spot in the Premier League and may miss out on a place in the Champions League for the third time in six seasons.

The likes of Juan Mata, Marcos Rojo and Antonio Valencia could all leave Old Trafford this summer, although Solskjaer has suggested there may be more departures.

The Norwegian said: "We did well to get here [the quarter-finals] and you could see the difference between the two teams.

"We know there's work to be done. I've said all along this isn't going to change overnight and the next few years are going to be massive for us to get to the level where Barcelona and other teams are at the moment.

"We've done really, really well to get to the quarters and challenge for the top four. So we've got a rebuilding job but it starts with the coaches and players, and of course one or two additions to the squad will happen in the summer."

United, 11/4 to finish in the top four, are 6/5 to beat Everton at Goodison Park this weekend.