Real Madrid won the 2018 Champions League last season after defeating Liverpool 3-1 in the final. They are currently struggling and are not looking as good contenders for the title. While other teams like Manchester City and Barcelona are in top form right now. Both teams have easily topped their respective groups and both have proceeded to the next round.
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1- Manchester City
Manchester City is one of the top favorites to win this season’s Champions League. After suffering an early defeat against Lyon, City has been performing greatly since then. They topped their group and easily qualified for the next round.
Last season, they were absolutely unstoppable on the domestic front. They collected an incredible 100 points on their way to winning the Premier League trophy. While they easily outclassed Arsenal to claim the Carabao Cup.
Nevertheless, Guardiola’s side was uninspiring on the European front. They lost quite badly against Liverpool at Anfield and later lost the match at Etihad as well to go out of the competition.
It looks like Guardiola is more prepared this time. He didn’t let Liverpool win again the last time he visited Anfield. He changed his strategy and came away with a single point from Anfield where he had suffered back-to-back defeats previously. Their midfield can boast of players like Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva and Fernandinho. Their forwards Aguero, Sterling, Sane and Mehraz are world class players as well.
Liverpool are also good contenders for the Champions League this season. They were last season’s finalists. To make it to the finals, Klopp’s side bested teams like Porto, Manchester City, and Roma. Unfortunately, goalkeeping mistakes and bad luck cost them the final against Real Madrid.
Liverpool has signed a world-class goalkeeper this year- Alisson Becker from Roma. Their midfield is much improved with the new arrivals Fabinho and Naby Keita. While they have the amazing attacking trio of Salah, Firmino, and Mane.
Salah was struggling to score initially this season, but now he has got his form back. He scored the solo goal against Napoli in the all-important Champions League match and scored a brilliant hat-trick against Bournemouth in the Premier League. Klopp can afford to rest his main forward players because he has Xherdan Shaqiri and Daniel Sturridge in the team.
Klopp’s team is already giving a very tough competition to Manchester City in the Premier League. In fact, they went one point ahead of Manchester City after Guardiola’s side suffered a defeat at Stamford Bridge.
Like Manchester City, Barcelona dominated on their domestic front last season. There was almost no competition for them as the Catalans easily won the Liga title and the Copa del Rey. And like City, domestic success didn’t translate into European glory for them.
It was a huge shock for Barcelona fans when their team went out of the competition after registering an emphatic 4-1 victory against Roma in the first leg of the quarter-finals. Roma thrashed Barcelona 3-0 at Stadio Olimpico to knock them out of the competition.
So far, Barcelona is performing very well this season. Placed in a relatively difficult group which included Tottenham, Inter Milan, and PSV Eindhoven, they easily topped their group and proceeded to the next round of the Champions League. Even when depleted of their full strength, Tottenham couldn’t get the victory against them at the Camp Nou. Lionel Messi is still performing very well for the team while Philippe Coutinho and Luiz Suarez are also in great shape.