It’s been relatively smooth sailing for the majority of the Premier League clubs in the UEFA Champions League so far, even though a few hiccups have threatened last season’s finalists Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur on occasions.
Spurs, in particular, are reeling from their recent struggles in the league. They’re stuck in 11th place in the Premier League, failing to win matches and at rock-bottom in terms of confidence.
So a trip to Belgrade to take on the daunting FK Crvena Zvezda(better known as Red Star Belgrade) isn’t the easiest to take from their point of view. To make things worse, their captain and key goal-scorer Harry Kane fell ill recently and is perhaps a doubt.
A last-minute goal conceded to Everton continued their struggles to get a win, but they need all three points to solidify their chances of progressing far into the Champions League.
They’re quite far behind Bayern Munich and perhaps topping the group is out of the equation. But if they can stand strong against hostile environment, play some clinical attacking football and keep out the Belgrade side, a win can do splendid into reinvigorating their confidence.
Liverpool, on the hand, have recovered well from the opening-week loss to Napoli. They are among the title favourites in the Champions League betting online, and as predicted, thrashed Genk in their trip to Belgium. A similar result should ensue at Anfield, where they’re undefeated in more than 40 games now.
With an eye on Manchester City at the weekend, Jurgen Klopp will probably make some changes. Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane could get rests, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlin, as well as Naby Keita, can get more chances to impress the German.
Regardless, it should be a comfortable win for the Reds to take one step closer into the knockout rounds. City, on the other hand, have the perfect opportunity to seal a position in the Round of 16 by defeating Atalanta at their own yard.
The Italians have been ripping apart teams in Serie A but are struggling against the bright lights of the Champions League nights. Pep Guardiola is nevertheless respectful of his opponents and reiterated he won’t rest his big players in mid-week before the Liverpool clash.
If that truly is the case, City should get a comfortable win even if their shaky defence gets put to the sword by the brilliant attack of the hosts.
Chelsea produced the shock of the last Champions League game-week when they snapped Ajax’s undefeated run this season with a sly 1-0 win at the Johan Cruyff stadium.
The Dutch side will be eying cold revenge and have a world-class attack to torment their young defence. The Blues can take pole position into winning the group with a win, but a poor record at Stamford Bridge this season causes concern.
It should be an end-to-end encounter with two young, attack-minded teams going at it and Lampard will bring his A-game to make sure his side at least doesn’t lose in front of their fans again.