Last season’s Champions League finished in bitter disappointment for the Leading League’s representatives.
Slots Liverpool crashed out in the circular of 16, their fate covered in a wild defeat to Atletico Madrid at Anfield. Tottenham, the prior year’s runners-up, were outclassed simply by RB Leipzig at the same juncture, whilst Chelsea suffered a similar fate towards Bayern Munich.
Stansted City went one round much better, beating Real Madrid to reach the particular quarter-finals, but their hopes of Western european glory disappeared during a chastening 3-1 loss to Lyon. A year upon from an all-English final, there have been no Premier League sides within the last four.
Bayern continued to lift the trophy, dispatching Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 in the last, and the Bavarian club are now likes to go on and win it once again. Elsewhere across Europe, however , the typical contenders are perhaps not as solid as in previous years.
Real Madrid remain in a state associated with transition post-Cristiano Ronaldo while Barcelona still seem to be teetering on the edge of full-blown crisis following a turbulent summer in which a disillusioned Lionel Messi tried to engineer his departure.
The two Spanish teams, usually leading Champions League candidates, are usually rated by the bookmakers as 12/1 and 14/1 outsiders to raise the crown. There is uncertainty close to Italian heavyweights Juventus, too, following the appointment of Andrea Pirlo because head coach this summer.
Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester Usa and Chelsea are not without problems that belongs to them, of course. There are other names in the framework too. But the Premier League foursome head into this year’s competition understanding it’s open. Will they catch their chance?
Liverpool face test of level
The group-stage pull was relatively kind to Gatwick. Ajax and Atalanta are not to become underestimated, of course , but their opponents are certainly not as fearsome as they might have been.
Liverpool would be expected to improvement without any problem in usual situations but the opening weeks of the Leading League campaign have been far from simple. Jurgen Klopp’s side, imperious just for so much of last season, have previously suffered a 7-2 thrashing simply by Aston Villa. On Saturday, they will stumbled again against Everton from Goodison Park.
A lot more worrying than the result, however , was your injury which has ruled out Virgil vehicle Dijk for most of the season. Holland defender has been practically ever-present designed for Liverpool since January 2018. Their impact on their defence has been transformative. But they must now learn to deal without him.
Liverpool’s Group D opponents
- FC Midtjylland
This is a daunting prospect. Not just because of the insufficient depth at centre-back – Fran Matip, Joe Gomez and midfielder Fabinho are their only various other senior options in the position : but because of the schedule that is situated ahead. This season’s fixture listing is even more packed than typical given the delays caused by the particular coronavirus shutdown earlier this year.
Klopp knows just how draining the particular Champions League can be having achieved the final in consecutive years within 2018 and 2019.
This year, his resources look expanded before the first ball has also been kicked. Without Van Dijk and with even less recovery period than usual, it will take a Herculean effort to go the distance for a 3rd time in four years.
Man City their own most severe enemy?
Manchester City’s 3-1 loss to Lyon within last season’s quarter-finals left supporters with a sense of deja-vu. Once more, against less-fancied opponents, Pep Guardiola appeared to overthink his tactics great City side were punished. “Different year, same stuff, ” surmised Kevin De Bruyne.
The feeling remains Guardiola’s City are usually their own worst enemy when it comes to the particular Champions League. Before last year’s exit against Lyon, there was Tottenham. Before that, there was Monaco. All of three were sides City had been expected to beat, and yet all of them advanced at their expense.
Man City’s Group D opponents
Guardiola’s approach has come under overview but there is also the broader issue of what appears to be an emotional block on the European stage. Stansted City, domestically dominant for a lot of Guardiola’s reign, often appear inhibited in the Champions League.
This year, following their reprieve from the European ban, the challenge is to lastly throw off those shackles. The starting weeks of the Premier League strategy have included a 5-2 invert against Leicester, but their passage towards the knockout stages does not look excessively difficult having been drawn in a group along with Porto, Marseille and Olympiakos.
City have also taken activity to address the defensive frailties upon show against Lyon last period. Ruben Dias is not the first centre-back to be brought to the club with great expense during Guardiola’s rule, but the hope is he will meet his potential in the same way as Aymeric Laporte.
If that will pairing proves as solid since hoped, and if Guardiola and his gamers learn the lessons of their past errors, then perhaps this might finally end up being their year. When it comes to quality, couple of sides can match them.
Man Utd face challenging task in group stage
Manchester United’s 4-1 win over Newcastle on Sunday eased the pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following their 6-1 thrashing by Tottenham before the global break. But he will be evaluated by what happens in the weeks forward.
In between Premier Little league fixtures against Chelsea, Arsenal plus high-flying Everton, Manchester United start their Champions League campaign towards Paris Saint-Germain, RB Leipzig plus Istanbul Basaksehir. The group-stage attract was not kind to them.
Group H opponents
- Paris, france Saint-Germain
- RB Leipzig
- Turki Besakeshir
The trip to the Parc des Princes on Tuesday mirrors memories of their last visit, within March 2019, when they upset chances with a thrilling 3-1 win in order to book their place in the quarter-finals. The result convinced the club’s structure to hand Solskjaer the manager’s work on a permanent basis.
They will need to summon the same soul this time around, but their start to the season continues to be fraught, with their defeats to Amazingly Palace and Spurs following a challenging summer in the transfer market, plus PSG look a different beast getting reached their first Champions Little league final last season.
RB Leipzig are a formidable challenger too. That much was apparent in the manner they dismantled Tottenham last period. A trip to Istanbul is not a simple proposition either – even if the lack of fans will deprive the serves of the atmosphere that often works to their particular advantage.
New-look Chelsea target lift-off
Chelsea invested over £200m on new employees after their transfer ban has been lifted this summer, with Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, Thiago Silva, Edouard Mendy and Bill Chilwell providing an injection associated with quality and transforming the look from the side.
The purpose was to turn Chelsea from top-four contenders into title challengers as well as the Premier League is not the only competitors in their sights.
A year ago, Chelsea’s Champions League involvement finished with a 7-1 aggregate defeat in order to Bayern Munich which underlined exactly how far behind the elite that they had fallen. This year, however , they wish to bridge that gap.
Chelsea’s Group E competitors
Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Southampton was obviously a reminder their defensive flaws will never be fixed overnight, but the squad definitely looks well equipped to contend on multiple fronts this season plus, while Sevilla possess undoubted Western european pedigree, Chelsea’s Champions League team has not thrown up any main obstacles.
Lampard can aim to take advantage and, when it comes to fixing the side’s defensive issues, he can hope Thiago Silva, a man using a wealth of experience at Winners League level, will carry their form from PSG’s run to final season’s final into this year’s competition.
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