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Four English clubs reach Champs League quarter-finals for the first time in TEN years …which team has the best chance

botchway March 15, 2019

England has four teams in the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time in a decade after Liverpool joined both Manchester clubs and Tottenham in the last eight of the competition with victory over Bayern Munich.
Not since Liverpool, United, Arsenal and Chelsea reached the same stage in 2008-09 have Premier League teams been so dominant in Europe – although Barcelona ended up as champions that season.
The English clubs will have to wait until today to find out if they have avoided one another as they go into the draw with Barca, Juventus, FC Porto and Ajax.
English football’s most successful club in the European Cup progressed to the final under Jurgen Klopp a year ago and will be hoping to go one better this season.
For all City’s goals against Schalke in the last-16 and United’s guts in coming back to beat Paris-Saint Germain, Liverpool’s 3-1 away win against an established European heavyweight like Bayern was just as impressive.
Klopp’s side are significantly stronger to the one that brushed City aside in the semis last season before losing to Real Madrid in the final in Kiev with the summer acquisitions of defender Virgil van Dijk and goalkeeper Alisson Becker making Liverpool a different proposition at home and abroad.
It has given the five-time European champions the defensive stability to complement one of the most feared forward lines on the continent.
Pep Guardiola’s side displayed their Champions League credentials with a brutal 10-2 aggregate win over Schalke in the last 16.
The Germans may have been the weakest team left in the competition, but City’s 7-0 win at the Etihad was still an emphatic statement to the rest of Europe.
No-one can doubt Guardiola’s record in the European Cup, having won it once as a player and twice as coach of Barcelona. And although he has tried to limit the expectations on his players by claiming City are ‘teenagers’ in Europe and lack ‘history’ in the competition, he is fooling no-one. They are one of the favourites and rightly so.
Not for the first time in recent years, City’s biggest problem could be competing on so many fronts. Having banked the Carabao Cup, they are involved in a fierce Premier League title race with Liverpool that will stretch the resources of both clubs, as well as going for the FA Cup.
If you had touted United as Champions League contenders in December, it would have been dismissed as pure fantasy. They had qualified for the last-16 on the back of an uninspiring campaign notable only for a rather fortuitous away win over Juventus in Group H.
Such has been the transformation at Old Trafford in the three months since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho at the wheel, however, that anything feels possible now.
United’s sensational comeback to beat PSG in Paris with an injury-hit team and the odds stacked against them has raised hopes that Solskjaer can lead the club to victory in Europe 20 years after his injury-time winner over Bayern Munich.
They remain one of the less-fancied teams among the last eight.
No-one could accuse Spurs of having it easy in this season’s Champions League. They crept into the last 16 after pipping Inter Milan to second place in a difficult Group B and then beat Borussia Dortmund 4-0 on aggregate.
However, the second-leg win over the Germans at Wembley was Tottenham’s only success in their last five games in all competitions, and there is a concern that Mauricio Pochettino’s side are running out of gas at a crucial point of the season again.
Contenders in the Premier League title race for so long, Spurs are now battling just to finish in the top-four. Out of the four English qualifiers, they have the least Champions League experience and are likely to be the ones that European clubs would prefer to be drawn against on Friday.
Credit: dailymail.co.uk

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