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Page last updated at 21:38 GMT, Tuesday, 1 April 2008 22:38 UK

Alan Hansen's column

Alan Hansen
By Alan Hansen
BBC Sport football expert

England's elite dominate the last eight of the Champions League - and I fully expect three teams from the top flight to reach the semi-finals for the second year in succession.

The most intriguing of the quarter-finals from a Premier League perspective is undoubtedly the tie between Arsenal and Liverpool, with the first leg at The Emirates on Wednesday night.

Fernando Torres
Liverpool will hope Torres can maintain his impressive recent form

Arsenal have been struggling and have been in freefall, despite a great result against AC Milan in the San Siro in the last 16 but they came back from real adversity at the weekend and it would be foolish to discount them.

They conjured up a truly amazing comeback at Bolton on Saturday, a performance that showed real reserves of character, given their recent form.

But my old club look like they are a team built for the Champions League and proved it again against Inter Milan in the last round. They were very solid, good on the counter-attack and will fancy their chances against Arsenal.

Arsenal have huge ability and they will hope their big players demonstrate it against Liverpool but Emmanuel Adebayor has gone off the boil recently and even Cesc Fabregas has not been playing as well as he was.

They have struggled defensively and opponents will note how they cracked under pressure against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge after holding the lead going into the last 20 minutes.

Arsene Wenger's Arsenal side will hope to rediscover their momentum after their amazing win at Bolton

Arsenal will take great heart from what happened at the Reebok on Saturday - but Liverpool will be a different proposition to Bolton.

Liverpool are my favourites to go through because the Champions League really seems to suit them. It is a more cautious, tactical approach and they have a cautious manager in Rafael Benitez.

This is not in any way a negative comment about Benitez. He simply has a way of playing that suits the Champions League, as Liverpool's recent record in the competition proves, and that is good management.

Liverpool will get men behind the ball at Arsenal and they will be delighted the second leg is at Anfield, where the crowd will be such a factor.

I expect this to be a very tight affair, more of a slog than pretty football. The away goal is more important now than when I played, in fact, it is hugely important, but make no mistake, if you offered Benitez 0-0 now he would bite your hand off.

Didier Drogba
Drogba is key to Chelsea's hopes of progress

Arsenal will hope to rediscover their inspiration after the late drama on Saturday and I would never write off a team with such outstanding ability but I feel Liverpool will come through after two very tight games.

Momentum and confidence are huge factors in football and I believe Liverpool have more of it in this competition than Arsenal.

Chelsea are away to Fenerbahce on Wednesday and, while trips to Turkey are always difficult, I expect them to prevail over the two legs.

They are a multi-talented side and have an outstanding performer in striker Didier Drogba. He provides an outlet and a goalscoring threat that is crucial in a European tie away from home.

He gives them a physical presence and when you are under the cosh you can knock it up to him and he will either hold the ball or, more often than not, force the opposition into a foul.

Chelsea have quality all over the pitch but, for me, Drogba will be the key figure and I expect Avram Grant's side to reach a second successive semi-final, where I believe they will meet Liverpool for the third time.

Alan Hansen was talking to Phil McNulty


see also
Roma 0-2 Man Utd
01 Apr 08 |  Europe
Schalke 0-1 Barcelona
01 Apr 08 |  Europe
Arsenal v Liverpool
01 Apr 08 |  Europe
Why Torres is Anfield's new hero
01 Apr 08 |  Liverpool
Fenerbahce v Chelsea
31 Mar 08 |  Europe
Tim Vickery column
30 Mar 08 |  Internationals


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