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Assessing the Champions League tournament favourites

Assessing the Champions League tournament favourites

After the Champions League last 16 draw took place last month, we now have a feel for how the knockout stages are going to shape up. There are some cracking ties to look forward to between some of Europe's heavyweights, and also some intriguing match-ups between some of the less-fancied teams.

Manchester City's pairing with Real Madrid is arguably the tie of the round, and Pep Guardiola's men are the current favourites to win the tournament in Champions League betting odds from Betfair. But there are plenty of other sides looking to upset those odds and achieve European glory. Let's take a closer look at a few of the favourites to win the Champions League this season.

Manchester City

There is a sense that Guardiola's job at Manchester City will not be fully complete until he leads them to Champions League glory. With a third successive Premier League title looking to be beyond City's reach, they may have the opportunity to focus their efforts on securing a maiden Champions League triumph for the club.

They have an almighty hurdle to overcome in the last 16 though. Real Madrid under Zinedine Zidane have plenty of Champions League experience, having won the tournament three times in a row with the Frenchman at the helm, between 2016 and 2018. But if City can come through this tie, it will give them the confidence in their own abilities against Europe's elite that they have perhaps lacked in past campaigns, and could be the catalyst for a memorable European triumph.

Liverpool

Champions of Europe last season, and finalists the season before, Liverpool are a formidable force under Jürgen Klopp in the Champions League. They progressed as winners in a group that contained Napoli and surprise package Red Bull Salzburg. With a last 16 tie against Atletico Madrid to navigate, the Reds will need to call on all their Champions League knowhow.

Liverpool are unbeaten in the Premier League this season, and it's going to take something special to knock them out of Europe. Atleti are a side that have the potential to frustrate them, and Klopp will need to ensure his fabulous front three of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah are on song if they are to maintain hopes of a second Champions League title in a row.

Barcelona

Barcelona and Lionel Messi will still be reeling after last season's shock semi-final exit at the hands of Liverpool. The Catalonian giants led the tie 3-0 after the first leg, but on a famous night at Anfield Liverpool turned it all around, winning 4-0 and sending Barcelona crashing out of the competition.

The memory of that miserable defeat may well spur Barcelona on to go one better this season and make the final. They face Napoli in the last 16 in what should be a routine passage through to the quarter-finals – the Italian side are undergoing turbulent times at the moment. With Messi in the team, anything is possible, and if he can produce his trademark moments of magic then Barcelona can never be discounted.

Paris Saint-Germain

Like Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain are chasing an elusive first Champions League title. Given the money the French club have spent over the last 10 years or so, many would have expected PSG to have won the competition by now, but a number of untimely early exits have cost them the chance of reaching the latter stages.

As usual, they have a healthy lead at the top of the Ligue 1 table, so it may be time to redouble their efforts in Europe. They breezed through Group A, beating Real Madrid 3-0 in Paris en route to topping the group. Coach Thomas Tuchel faces a tricky last 16 tie against his former club Borussia Dortmund, but you would expect PSG to win if they are at their best. If the French giants can build some momentum in the knockout stages, then they'll have the final in Istanbul in their sights.



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Get the double-sided 92 Club & National League map poster - 2019/2020 season