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Here in America, March and its NCAA madness passed, but for football fanatics the real final four is about to begin.

When Tuesday, April 22 rolls around it will begin the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League and pit four world titans against each other. Never mind the fact that three of the four play in the same league, it is a great time of the year. With the top leagues in Spain, England, Italy and even Germany seemingly wrapped up as the final matches play out, there is no certainty in the Champions League.

While I would prefer more diversity with the final participants, they have all done their parts to secure passage thus far and are deserving of their places. Without any further adieu, lets see who will make it to Moscow for the final.

Liverpool v. Chelsea

These two sides are no strangers to Europe and Liverpool will be looking to make its third final in four years, a truly remarkable feat.

While each squad boasts tremendous talent and skill when they have met boring, plodding and playing-it-safe football seem to follow. Looking for these two to open up this close to the final would be like expecting Lindsay Lohan to stay out of rehab, it just isnt going to happen.

Steven Gerrard has been tremendous recently and the skipper has the ability to summon all of Liverpools lore and carry the club on his shoulders. Meanwhile Fernando Torres is looking unstoppable in front of goal and has filled the net 29 times so far this season in all competitions.

Chelsea has taken a by-committee approach with injuries and inconsistent play hitting almost every part of its squad. It will need a health-as-possible Petr Cech to have a chance at advancing.

Joe Cole has been the sides most inspiring player the past few months and is one of the few players who throw a little imagination and creativity into Chelseas game plan.

With the final this close it is difficult to bet against Rafa Benitez as he seems to pull all of the right strings in European play and Avram Grants decision making has been a roller coaster affair.

Look for Liverpool to wiggle its way through to the final in two very tight, albeit most likely dull matches with a 2-1 aggregate result.

Manchester United v. Barcelona

On paper the other semifinal looks like a great matchup, rife with world-class players capable of filling the score sheet in both games.

Off paper it doesnt take long for one to realize Barca is a side struggling while Man U is sailing with confidence and inspired play. In fact with Barcas up-and-down play this season it is remarkable the club even has the chance to make it to the final since winning it all in 2006.

Ronaldinhos name is consistently in transfer rumors and appears more in the tabloids than in the lineup card. Lionel Messi is hurt, Thierry Henry is sulking (surprise!) and Carles Puyol and Rafa Marquez are leaky in the backline.

There are bright spots, but the stars at Barcelona are dimmer now more than ever recently.

Meanwhile Uniteds stars are shining and Sir Alex Fergusons squad depth is positively unbelievable. Youth, experience, toughness, finesse, Manchester United has it all and can mix and match with the best of them. The only concern might be Nemanja Vidics fitness, but Uniteds depth will help make up for the loss.

Also, the sides league form has been outstanding and Cristiano Ronaldo is making reporters continually check their thesauruses for new adjectives as he makes his climb toward being the best player in the world.

Still, this is the Champions League and Barcelona are a formidable opponent. It boasts enough talent to beat any side in the world and with two inspired games could wreck Uniteds double quest. I just dont see it happening.

In another tight affair, United goes through 3-1 on aggregate and England begins bragging about its football superiority (Euro 2008 anyone?).


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