English Premier League and La Liga in a class of their own

Liverpool's Sadio Mane.
Liverpool's Sadio Mane.

Liverpool and Real Madrid’s victories in their respective Wednesday night Champions league quarterfinal games demonstrated the vast superior difference in quality possessed by the English Premier league and the La Liga compared with other leagues across the Europe.

Sadio Mane stared as Liverpool ran riot in a 5-0 victory over Portuguese outfit Porto.

The Senegalese winger scored a hat-trick as the Reds marked their first Champions League knockout game for nine years with an emphatic victory at Porto’s Estádio do Dragão in their Champions League last-16 first-leg tie.

All three members of Liverpool’s fantastic attacking trio were on the scoreboard with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino both adding a goal apiece to send a statement of intent to all their European rivals.

Portuguese giants Porto started off like a house on fire but their wastefulness in front of goal came back to haunt them as Jürgen Klopp’s side grew in confidence and ran riot.

Sérgio Conceição’s Porto had no answers to Liverpool’s pace and quality and Mane’s thunder strike marked his hat-trick and also sealed Porto’s defeat.

The victory continued a president set by Manchester City on Tuesday as Pep Guardiola’s side set a Champions League record with their 4-0 thrashing of Basel.

City’s four-goal win was the largest margin of victory set by a Premier League team away from home in the Champions League knockout rounds.

Liverpool however rewrote the history books only a day after City had managed this feat.

At the Santiago Bernabéu, Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brace while left back Marcelo got the other as Real Madrid came from a goal down to take a 3-1 lead over Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in the first leg of their Champions League clash.

The La Liga team’s resilience was evident after they fell a goal behind to high spending PSG who had the world’s most expensive player, Neymar, in their squad.

But Zinedine Zidane’s side restructured and committed more players in attack, leading to them pulling a goal back after Toni Koos was fouled in the penalty box.

Up stepped Cristiano Ronaldo, who confidently fired past PSG goalkeeper Alphonse Areola.

Luck was also on Madrid’s side as the referee did not give their opponents a penalty after a clear handball by Madrid captain Sergio Ramos.

Madrid capitalised on this good fortune as Ronaldo, who was in the right place at the right time, pounced on a loose ball in the penalty box and scored his second goal of the night.

Left back Marcelo, who as usual was playing more like a left wing than a left back, got the third goal for Madrid.

Liverpool and Manchester City’s resounding wins as well as Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur’s come-from-behind win and draw respectively have this week demonstrated the pedigree possessed by the La Liga and the English Premier League that cannot be found in other leagues across Europe.

The two leagues have seven teams representing them in the round of 16.

Four teams – Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea – represent the Premier league while Real Madrid, Barcelona and Sevilla are the three teams representing La Liga.

The next round of 16 first leg ties will take place on the 20th and the 21st of February, with a mouth-watering clash between Premier league side Chelsea taking on La Liga giants Barcelona being the pick of the lot.

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