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Champions League predictions for semifinals first leg 2022

We make our picks for the Champions League semifinal first leg.

Sevilla FC v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Santander Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

The UEFA Champions League semifinal round gets underway with just four teams left in the tournament. Manchester City will face off against Real Madrid while Liverpool goes up against Villarreal. The EPL sides will be the hosts for their respective first leg matches, with Man City-Real Madrid kicking off on Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET. Liverpool and Villarreal will square off on Wednesday at 3 p.m. with both matches airing on CBS and Paramount+.

Champions League predictions 2022

Manchester City v. Real Madrid

Man City will run into arguably the best player left in the tournament, Karim Benzema. He’s already dropped two hat tricks, helping Los Blancos eliminate PSG and Chelsea in the last two knockout rounds. The 34-year-old striker sits at 12 goals throughout the tournament and has been playing at another level, banging in a league-leading 25 goals in La Liga play this season as well. City defender Ruben Dias will be tasked with attempting to keep Benzema at bay as the home side will look to get an early lead on their home grounds.

Riyad Mahrez leads the way in scoring for Man City, tallying six goals throughout the group stage and knockout rounds. The home side has a whole slew of talented players, including Phil Foden, who has been superb in EPL play and brings some electricity to Man City’s midfield. I think City, who are favorites to win at -215 on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, get the edge in the first leg and will carry a lead into the second leg at Santiago Bernabeu.

Pick: Manchester City -215

Liverpool v. Villarreal

This matchup is a little easier to pick, given that Liverpool are the overwhelming favorites with moneyline odds at -320. Villarreal comes in at +1000 on the board, with a draw at +425. Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah has been fantastic for the Reds, knocking in eight goals, while Roberto Firmino has tallied 5. Sadio Mane is also a huge scoring threat for Liverpool, scoring in five of his last six appearances across all competitions.

Villarreal isn’t down and out by default, though, as their defense has been a huge factor in making it this far into the tournament. Defender Raul Albiol was the man of the match against Bayern Munich in their second leg, leading to Bayern not being able to find a second goal to equalize the aggregate score. Taking down a giant team like Bayern Munich is no easy task, and Villarreal will look to employ similar tactics against Liverpool.

Regardless, Liverpool is playing at an elite level right now, and should be able to get the win at home.

Pick: Liverpool -320

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