My Champions League predictions – 2019/20
The Champions League knockout stages are now in full swing. On the first matchday, we had goals, drama and plenty of upset. But how will things turn out in May? The Champions: Liverpool. I don’t think you
The Champions League knockout stages are now in full swing. On the first matchday, we had goals, drama and plenty of upset. But how will things turn out in May?
The Champions: Liverpool.
I don’t think you can look past Liverpool as the out and out favourites in this year’s competition. They blew everybody away in last season’s Champions League campaign, and this year, one could argue that they’re even better. They’re still unbeaten in the Premier League, 27 games in, and they’ve won a staggering 79 out of 81 possible points. Although they haven’t been as steady in Europe, with defeat away at Napoli and an unconvincing performance at home to Salzburg, and, of course, a 1-0 loss in their first leg away at the Wanda Metropolitano to Atletico Madrid, the Merseyside giants now have the home advantage.
Anfield has proved a fortress for them in recent times, with Liverpool unbeaten in a whopping 54 games at their home ground. After that miraculous comeback against Barcelona last season, I would be seriously surprised if they didn’t turn it around, and use the momentum to carry themselves to a second Champions league title in as many years.
That ball 🤩
That finish 🤩
Sadio and Trent complete the comeback 🔥 pic.twitter.com/AKax0Gjyqn
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 25, 2020
The Runners Up: Chelsea.
Ok, ok, just hear me out. I know that Chelsea are 4th in the Premier League at the moment, and I know that this is Frank Lampard’s first season as Chelsea boss, they have a young side, yadayadayada…
But this season they’ve done tremendously well. What has won them over for me was that game against Ajax in the group stages, when they came from 1-4 down to draw the game 4-4, and would have won it but for VAR. The spirit that that side showed then is something which, if they keep it up, can take them higher than they ever would have dreamed.
I suppose the fact that they conceded four goals in the first place is an issue, but that grit, that desire to fight, is what separates the nearly-teams from the champions. They might not get the title, but believe me when I say they’ll give it a good go.
Keep an eye out for: Borussia Dortmund.
Borussia Dortmund are owed a trophy. Their last league title was in 2012, their last and only Champions League in 1997. They’ve come close to glory a few times since then, most notably their defeat in the 2013 Champions League final at Wembley. But now, they have some truly frightening firepower at their disposal. Jadon Sancho has been sublime all season, racking up 16 goals and 17 assists in all competitions since the start of the campaign.
Then, you have their January signing, Erling Braut Haaland. He’s at 40 for the season, having played just over 2,000 minutes of football. That means that he is averaging a goal every 50 minutes which is, quite frankly, insane. With these two, and a whole army of other talents, such as Achraf Hakimi and Thorgan Hazard, as well as Marco Reus, who should be soon returning from injury, the German giants will be a force to be reckoned with.
They also have an encouraging 2-1 lead against Paris Saint-Germain to take to the French capital, so, who knows what’ll happen?
The Big Shock: Barcelona to go out early.
Barcelona are in a spot of bother at the moment. Plagued by injury, the Catalan club signed Martin Braithwaite from Leganes outside the transfer window, by special permission from La Liga. This caused great controversy, but the club should be used to that feeling by now.
They’ve had the beef between Lionel Messi and Eric Abidal to contend with, as well as unrest among the fans due to the unattractive football they were playing under Valverde. They brought in Quique Setien to try and bring back that Cruyffian style of play, but having lost level heads such as Xavi and Andres Iniesta, and with the iconic Lionel Messi bound to start slowing down soon, the club’s identity could end up in tatters.
That’s the future of course; but even now, without a world class striker, I can’t see them getting past the likes of Kalidou Koulibaly’s Napoli, who are one of only two teams to have beaten the mighty Liverpool this season. A shock to look out for, then.