It was a great season for Premier League sides in Champions League 2018-19 as two English sides battled it out in the final.
In 2019-20, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham would be representing the Premier League in Europe. With the likes of Liverpool and City among the favourites, the Premier League sides are once again expected to make an impression in the premier European football competition.
The draw for the Champions League group stage was made on Thursday, and it threw up some interesting contests in the group stage.
The current champions find themselves in Group E. They are grouped with a familiar opponent in Napoli. Last season, the Reds registered a hard-fought 1-0 win over the Serie A side in their last group game to qualify to the knockout rounds. They also had to suffer a 1-0 defeat in the reverse fixture in Italy. Nevertheless, the Merseysiders would be huge favourites to win their group.
The group is completed by Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg and Belgian side Genk. Both sides are making an appearance in the group stage of this competition following a considerable gap, and it would be unrealistic to expect them to cause any problems for the big two.
The Premier League champions have been placed in Group C. Like Liverpool, they also find themselves group with a familiar opponent in Shakhtar Donetsk. These two sides find themselves in the same group for the third consecutive year. The other two sides in this group are Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb and Serie A side Atalanta.
Even though the Cityzens can’t afford to take any of their opponents in this group lightly, they shouldn’t be having any problem in winning their group. Once again, City are strong contenders to win the tournament, and they would be desperate to improve on their recent endeavours in the tournament.
Chelsea are back in Champions League after missing out last season. The Blues are placed in Group H along with Ajax, Valencia and Lille.
The West London side bears a very different look this season, and they could be quite unpredictable in the tournament. Ajax were semi-finalists last season, and they would pose the main challenge to Frank Lampard’s side. However, the Dutch champions have lost some key players during the summer, and they might not carry the same threat. Valencia are always a dangerous opponent in Europe; Lille are back in Europe after considerable time and they must be desperate to make an impression.
Tottenham, who are the standing runners-up, have been handed arguably the trickiest group among all Premier League side. Spurs will have to battle it out with German champions Bayern Munich in Group B. The other two teams in the group are Olympiakos and Red Star Belgrade.
Despite their appearance in the final last season, Spurs would be huge underdogs against Bayern. And a simple slip against remaining two sides could prove costly for them.