Could Liverpool make it three Champions League finals in a row?

After Liverpool’s night of disappointment in Kiev at the end of the 2017/18 season, it was hard to see them bouncing back so quickly. They had just lost 3-1 to Real Madrid in the Champions League final, a match in which goalkeeper Loris Karius had committed two blunders and talismanic forward Mohamed Salah had been forced off with a shoulder injury early in the game.

It was a night where everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong, but that agony would only serve to add to the ecstasy Jurgen Klopp’s men would feel twelve months later as Jordan Henderson lifted the Champions League trophy aloft, having defeated Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in Madrid. The triumph was a testament to the idea of using past hurt as a key motivating factor, and the jubilant scenes on Merseyside as Liverpool’s players paraded through the city were images of unbridled joy.

As another Champions League campaign rolls around once again, it will be interesting to see how Liverpool fare now that Klopp has finally tasted silverware as Anfield boss. Will there be something of a lull in the Reds’ European performances, or will last year’s success only inspire this squad to seek further glory, to break records and surpass the feats of last season, where their Champions League victory was complemented by a remarkable 97-point Premier League campaign?

The current Champions League winner odds place Liverpool among the favourites to lift the famous old trophy, but to make it to three finals in a row would be a stunning achievement for the Reds given the competitive nature of Europe’s premier club competition.

That said, Real Madrid won the tournament three years running before last season, so to say it cannot be done in the modern game would be remiss. Liverpool have a special relationship with the Champions League just like Real Madrid, and it seems that this European pedigree plays a part on those big nights in the latter stages of the competition.

On that special night in April against Barcelona at Anfield, you could almost feel the history of the club swelling up around the famous stadium, the memories of past glory summoned forth by the roar of the crowd to the extent that Barcelona could do nothing but crumble.

The ‘big European night at Anfield’ has become something of a cliché, but that is only because few grounds have witnessed the drama that Anfield has, and few grounds can generate the same atmosphere. If Liverpool are to continue their Champions League success of the last couple of seasons in this campaign, they must continue to harness the power of their support.

Some might point to Liverpool’s lack of big-name acquisitions in the summer transfer window as a reason why they might get left behind in Europe this season. Jurgen Klopp refused to splash the cash over the summer months, content with the quality of his squad, eager to build on the unity developed through last year’s achievements. Only time will tell us if this was the right decision.

Perhaps more important for Liverpool was retaining their key players, keeping the core of that team together to go again. It possibly would have been foolish to bring in another attacker and disturb the front three that has terrorised defences domestically and in Europe. In Salah, Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino, Liverpool have a winning combination, three players who perfectly complement each other’s games, who create and provide for one another, and whose unpredictability is their greatest asset.

Liverpool’s full-backs too could stake a claim to be Europe’s finest at the moment. The pin-point accuracy of Trent Alexander-Arnold’s deliveries have rightly earned the young Englishman many plaudits, while Andy Robertson’s tenacious athleticism means he is a constant threat on the left side of the pitch. The only question is whether those two can maintain such high levels of performance across another lengthy campaign.

The group stage draw has been to kind Liverpool, placing them in Group E with Napoli, Red Bull Salzburg and Genk. It’s easy to forget that the Reds barely made it out of their group last season, edging through after beating Napoli on the final matchday. This group should see progress secured more comfortably, but complacency must be avoided at all costs.

The reality is that nothing lasts forever, but Jurgen Klopp will be hopeful that the winning machine he has created can continue rumbling on, grinding down opponents through their breathless attacking and ice-cool defensive nous. This year’s Champions League final returns to the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul, the scene of Liverpool’s most famous night in European history. It would be fitting if the Reds were to walk out there again next May, 15 years on from that joyful night, to fully assert themselves as the dominant force in European football once more.

Manchester City Defender Injured: Will This Prove to be a Title Boost for Liverpool?

The Premier League is back and once again, Liverpool certainly does not want to end up in the same runners-up position for the second year in a row. After forfeiting the Premier League title last year by only one point, the Reds are off to a great start to avoid any draws or defeats in matches before the international break to avoid the same situation.

Jamie Carragher, an ex Liverpool defender, claims that neither Liverpool or Manchester City can afford to drop any points in the race for the Premier League title. Critics, pundits and fans alike are expecting the Reds and the Blues to compete once again at the top of the table this term.

“Any drop off now in a three or four-game period before the next international break, you can find yourself behind City, so every game is so vital. It almost feels like a draw is a defeat now if you’re Liverpool or City.” After the international break, Liverpool host Newcastle United, with City visiting Norwich City later in the day.

However, Liverpool may have gained a title boost in Man City defender Laporte being stretchered off. Aymeric Laporte was stretchered off the field in a clash against Brighton and this could significantly improve Liverpool’s chances at the title. The central defender was one of the reigning champions’ best players last season, proving to be the most consistent of Pep Guardiola’s defensive options.

The 25-year old went down after colliding with Brighton’s Adam Webster and was withdrawn on 35 minutes for Fernandinho, with the Frenchman receiving treatment to his knee. Although it isn’t morally right for Liverpool to see this as a positive development, the Reds could find that they benefit from Laporte’s absence, given the positive impact he often has for the Sky Blues.

All in all, both sides wish the defender a speedy recovery but from an objective point of view, it does appear to be a boost for the club. City are a dominant side, and any potential chink in their armour can prove to be beneficial to those looking to keep up with them in the Premier League title chase.

Liverpool are quite the dangerous side themselves, with or without chinks in Manchester City’s armour. Their attacking department which includes the best strikers such as Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane proves that with such talented players, anything it possible.

It is Mo Salah who usually takes the most plaudits of Liverpool’s lethal attacking trident, understandable considering that he has 55 Premier League goals and two golden boots to show for his 76 league games for the Reds so far. However, it seems this year it is Sadio Mane who been Liverpool’s greatest attacking threat. The Senegalese star has notched 15 Premier League goals in 2019, the most in the division, and 20 in all competitions which is the same as Mo Salah (12) and Roberto Firmino (8) combined.

5 of the best foreign signings the EPL has ever seen

Over the years the Premier League has been fortunate enough to be graced by a plethora of talent. British stars like all-time leading goal scorer Alan Shearer, midfield maestros like Paul Scholes, the list is endless.

However, England’s top division wouldn’t be the mammoth attraction it is today without the influence of some truly special imports.

With yet more highly-rated foreign talent headed to the EPL this summer transfer, football tips and predictions on how they will fare are mixed but whatever happens, expect some to make a big impact for their respective clubs.

With the transfer window slamming shut and the new campaign upon us we’ve been inspired to take a look at 5 foreign stars that have lit up England’s Premier League.

Patrick Vieira

Strong, mobile, exceptional on the ball and a real competitor; regardless of what club you support it would be hard not to admire the exploits of Patrick Viera during his time in England with Arsenal.

He was an integral part of the legendary Arsenal ‘invincibles’ side and he was a true leader on and off the pitch. He finished his stint at Arsenal with 31 goals and 34 assists in 3017 appearances, but his legacy will live on for many years to come.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Alongside Lionel Messi, Cristiano has consistently been one of the best players in the world for the best part of a decade and his talents first really started coming to the fore under the stewardship of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United after he was snapped up from Sporting Lisbon.

Quick, dazzling fee and the epitome of the modern, athletic footballer, Ronaldo was truly a one off and the Premier League was lucky to be graced with his presence before he made a mega-money move to Spanish giants Madrid.

CR7 departed Manchester having netted 84 times in 196 games, winning 3 Premier League titles along the way.

Didier Drogba

As far as all-rounded forwards go, you’d find it hard to come up with a list of names that could even rival Ivorian Didier Drogba.

During his peak at Chelsea the big man was at times unplayable, scoring 104 goals in over 250 appearances and bullying many EPL defenders for years.

His defining moment came when he scored the equaliser and subsequent final penalty in Chelsea’s Champions League triumph in Munich but he will forever be remembered as one of the EPL’s greatest ever strikers.

Peter Schmeichel

Every successful team needs a truly outstanding keeper and in Schmeichel United and Fergie got that and then some.

He was an integral part of the Man United team that dominated around the 90s and he has been credited with revolutionising goalkeeping in this country.

Agile, decisive and a great defensive organiser- Schmeichel was some buy.

Nemanja Vidic

Given the amount of superb foreign defenders to grace the EPL over the years, choosing the best foreign stopper was always going to be a tricky task but we’ve punted for the brutal Serb Vidic.

His partnership with Rio Ferdinand is regarded as one of the best the top- flight has every seen and Vidic was every strikers nightmare. He was uncompromising, read the game brilliantly and led by example, particularly when the chips were down.

The Champions League Draw – 2019-2020

Once the season has kicked into place and the transfer window has closed its door, then the next major event on the calendar of the regular football addicted fan is the draw for the Champions League. Although the event itself does not make for the most exciting of television, the outcome is always fascinating as we can ponder at the fixtures that lie ahead. With 4 English teams competing again this season, let us take a look at who got the better end of the deal… bet-promo-code.co.uk

After victory in last years competition, Liverpool have been handed a group that on paper looks straight forward enough but could prove tricky. Although they have started the season with 4 wins from 4, the defence has looked shaky and other than a sub-par Arsenal, they haven’t encountered any in form sides. Napoli beat Liverpool last year and will fancy their chances again, and Salzburg are a team looking to make their mark and play a brand of football that could well cause problems for the Kop. Genk should be a pushover but Liverpool need to be careful…. Prediction: 1st

Now what about last years runners up? Look at totepromocode for the odds. After a mixed start to the season there are huge question marks hanging over the Spurs team and they have been handed a tricky draw for their group stage. Bayern Munich will be favourites to win the group, although fading from what they once were, they are still formidable enough to present Spurs with a handful. Then there are tricky away ties to Red Star Belgrade and Olympiakos which are never straight forward. The key fact remains that Spurs need to improve on their Premier League start, and if they do, they should be able to make it through this group. If they don’t….this could prove very tricky indeed! Prediction: 2nd

Is this finally the year that Manchester City make a Champions League final? The group stage should prove no problem as they face Atalanta, Dinamo Zagreb and Shakatar. Yes, the trips to Ukraine and Croatia may prove tricky but City have so much fire power, depth and are so good at winning the crunch games, that this group should be something of a walkover. Prediction: 1st at a canter

Last but not least, Chelsea have been perhaps given the hardest draw of all. With the transfer ban in place and a new manager blending a young side, the Champions League looks like a daunting prospect and of all the English teams, Chelsea are the ones who are looking least likely to progress. Valencia are a top side and have quality all over the pitch and should top the group and even though Ajax have lost the crux of the great team that stormed this contest last season, they still possess enough to repeat last years feat. Even Lille is not an easy game and the French side may prove tricky to break down if Chelsea aren’t firing on all cylinders. Prediction: 3rd

Whether this will be another successful season for English clubs in Europe remains to be seen but with the brand of football Liverpool and Manchester City are currently playing, it would be a brave man to bet against an English winner of the contest again!

Is the Current England Squad Experienced Enough to Win Euro 2020?


Gareth Southgate” (CC BY 2.0) by Ben Sutherland

Gareth Southgate has continually promoted youth over experience during his time as England manager, and there’s a similar flavour to his first 25-man squad of a season which culminates in Euro 2020.

Given the Three Lions were World Cup semi-finalists in Russia last summer and third-place playoff winners in the UEFA Nations League since then, everyone expects them to breeze through qualifying.

A youthful setup has only taken Southgate so far though – to the penultimate hurdle of tournaments. His latest roster has just three players older than 28 on it, and one of those is new Aston Villa goalie Tom Heaton.

Fellow recent Villa Park recruit Tyrone Mings is one of two first-time call-ups for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Kosovo. It’s something of a Cinderella story for the former Ipswich Town defender whose time with Bournemouth was wrecked by a serious knee injury.

The other maiden call-up Southgate opted for was Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who joined Manchester United for a reported £50,000,000 from Crystal Palace over the summer. It’s not so much his selection that is surprising, but the player omitted so the 21-year-old can have a chance.

Kyle Walker is a couple of caps short of his half-century for England. His decision to leave Tottenham – the club that has developed a substantial core of players used by Southgate – for Manchester City is entirely vindicated by subsequent trophies and winners’ medals.

Since Walker swapped North London for the Etihad in the summer of 2017, Man City have won five of a possible six major domestic trophies on offer in English football. He helped them to a Premier League, FA Cup and EFL Cup treble last season, but finds himself out of international contention all of a sudden.

Can England afford to ignore a proven winner who has obviously improved under Pep Guardiola? Not if they are to live up to their status as 9/2 second-favourites to win the Euros in the international football betting markets on offer at bet365.


Kyle Walker” (CC BY 2.0) by five til noon

This may be a storm in a teacup. Southgate could just be resting right back Walker who played in England’s UEFA Nations League finals campaign over the summer.

Being kicked by uncompromising Eastern European footballers looking to curb his natural instincts to get forward isn’t particularly appealing. Why then is former Spurs teammate Kieran Trippier, who by his own admission had a poor campaign last term despite a run to the Champions League final, still in the squad?

Surely, it’s Trippier who would benefit from being rested. He too has left Tottenham for Atletico Madrid and is adjusting to a new life in Spain and football culture in La Liga under passionate, demanding Argentine coach Diego Simeone.

Without Walker, no England defender selected has more than 30 caps. Only two have 20 or more, and just three have over 10. There is a massive lack of experience at the back with first-choice keeper Jordan Pickford on 19.

Going into the September international break, only Raheem Sterling – the joint-most experienced Three Lions player selected – had scored more Premier League goals than Burnley striker Ashley Barnes.

Austria don’t seem interested in offering him a belated senior international career having once played for their Under-20 team, but it appears he’s the somewhat unfashionable age of 29.

Barnes’ claims of an England call-up have been ignored by Southgate. Why? Well, he doesn’t fit the profile of younger players preferred by the Three Lions boss.

Exciting up-and-coming talents throughout the squad in Wan-Bissaka, Jadon Sancho, Declan Rice, Mason Mount, James Maddison and Ben Chilwell are all well and good, but the best teams often blend youth and experience.

Southgate is gambling on the old sporting adage: if you’re good enough then you’re old enough for England.