champions leagueLast season’s Champions League final between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur was the second time two English teams had competed in the showpiece match. Both sides performed brilliantly throughout the competition, and each was deserving of their place in the final. Liverpool’s victory was the first time an English club had won the Champions League since Chelsea in 2012, and the final was a major statement of the English teams’ qualities in comparison with their European contemporaries.

This season, Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester City and Chelsea are hoping to continue the good form in Europe’s top club competition. The odds on the 2020 Champions League currently have City and Liverpool as top contenders, so let’s take a look at how each English team is shaping up in the tournament so far.

Liverpool

The defending champions lead Group E, recovering from a defeat to Napoli to secure three wins on the bounce. Despite Liverpool’s good results in those matches, they looked vulnerable at times during their home wins against Red Bull Salzburg and Genk. It took a Mohamed Salah winner to beat Salzburg 4-3, and the Reds delivered a lacklustre performance in the narrow 2-1 win over Genk.

Having reached the last two Champions League finals, winning the trophy last season, it’s understandable that Liverpool’s priority this season is ending the 30-year wait for a domestic league title. That said, the quality of Jürgen Klopp’s side is such that Liverpool can never be discounted, and few would be surprised to see Liverpool reach a third final in a row.

Manchester City

Man City are in control of Group C, with ten points from four games – five points clear of second-place Shakhtar Donetsk. A 5-1 win over Atalanta at the Etihad Stadium has been the highlight of their campaign so far, although the Italian side did earn a point against the English champions in the reverse fixture.

In contrast to Liverpool, there is a sense that Champions League success is essential for City. The club have dominated English football over the last couple of seasons, winning five of the six main domestic trophies in that time. Now, the club craves a Champions League title, and manager Pep Guardiola will be desperate to get his hands on the trophy again having not won it since his success with Barcelona back in 2011. The drive and determination at the club to win the Champions League make City one of the favorites.

Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham’s Champions League campaign did not get off to the best start, with a draw away at Olympiacos being followed by a crushing 7-2 defeat at home to Bayern Munich. Spurs have since recovered with successive wins over Red Star Belgrade. The 4-0 victory in the Serbian capital was a great result given how teams have struggled there in the past.

Although Spurs were runners up last season, it seems as though a deep run in this season’s competition is unlikely. Mauricio Pochettino’s side have struggled on all fronts, failing to hit the attacking heights of previous seasons and looking vulnerable in defence. But if Spurs can deliver two strong performances against Olympiacos and Bayern Munich to secure qualification from the group, it could be the catalyst to turn their season around. 

Chelsea

Frank Lampard’s Chelsea have given a strong showing in Europe so far, despite being drawn in a competitive group that includes Valencia and last season’s semi-finalists Ajax. The Blues recovered from a defeat to Valencia, securing fine away wins over Lille and Ajax, before salvaging a 4-4 draw from 4-1 down in a thrilling contest with the Dutch side at Stamford Bridge. 

Chelsea, Ajax and Valencia all have seven points so Lampard’s side will need to continue their good form to reach the knockout stages. If they can do so, then a run to the latter stages of the competition may be on the cards. After all, Chelsea defied the odds to make it all the way to the Champions League final in the 2011-12 competition and won the trophy. Who’s to say they couldn’t do it again?

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