Champions League football is back in the coming days as 16 teams begin the long and hard journey to find out who will succeed Premier League giants Liverpool at the end of the competition.
Liverpool are the team to beat after their Champions League triumph in Madrid last season and they could still retain the title.
The Reds beat fellow last 16 recipient Tottenham Hotspur in the final last term.
The defending champions have been drawn alongside tough customers Atletico Madrid who have reached the final in two of the last five editions. On their part, Tottenham Hotspur have been drawn with German Bundesliga highflyers RB Leipzig who were at the top of the table before Bayern Munich knocked them off the summit last weekend.
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Liverpool are definitely one of the top five favourites to win this season’s edition of the competition alongside four others to be revealed as follows:
The Reds are clearly the team to beat this season after maintaining their sensational form from the second half of last season. The Reds have won all but one of their league games plus recording just one loss with the first team all season.
2. Manchester City
The outgoing Premier League champions have not been at the races this season in the Premier League as they have struggled to maintain their great record from the last campaign. Liverpool have all but wrapped up the league title in England and that could give Manchester City the impetus to concentrate more on the Champions League.
The Italian Serie A champions are one of the top five favourites to win the Champions League title and they have the competition’s leading goalscorer in Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Messi factor will always make Barcelona one of the favourites for the competition.
5. Real Madrid
They are the most successful team in the history of the competition with 13 titles but they have a tricky last 16 tie with Manchester City to navigate if they are to make it 14 title wins.
Championship defender could be next Man United signing
English Premier League outfit Man United are reportedly making efforts to snap up the signature of 22-year-old Swansea City defender Joe Rodon in the coming transfer window.
It is understood that the race for Joe Rodon will not be an easy one for the Red Devils as they have been joined in the race by Leicester City who are also keen on the service of eth Wales international.
West Ham United and Tottenham are also suitors for the services of the young defender as he is attracting interest from a number of Premier League clubs.
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However, Man United are reported to be favourites in the chase of Joe Rodon as they are very keen on him because of the need for a defender in the team.
The Sun reports that Man United had their £7 million offer plus add-ons rejected by Swansea City and the same was done to the North London club when they stepped forward with their offer.
Man United are keen to land a centre-defender that will partner Harry Maguire as the former Leicester City defender is yet to have the perfect partnership that will ensure his best.
Howbeit, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still in the market and it is expected that the January winter transfer window will be a busy one for the club.
Arsenal Handed Major Injury Blow In Champions League Chase
Premier League giants Arsenal have been rocked by the news that combative midfielder Lucas Torreira might have played his last game for the club this season after the serious ankle injury sustained by him last week.
Lucas Torreira was stretchered off last week Monday during the FA Cup fifth round tie at English League One club Portsmouth. The Uruguayan international suffered an ankle injury in the first half of that game and that injury has ended his season after the medical update from Arsenal earlier on Monday.
The player has been ruled out for up to eight to ten weeks as a result of the serious ankle injury sustained during that Portsmouth game at Fratton Park last week Monday.
Without Lucas Torreira, Arsenal were able to secure a place in the quarterfinals of the competition via the 2-0 win over Portsmouth courtesy the goals from Sokratis Papasthathopoulos and Eddie Nketiah.
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Arsenal will now travel to face Sheffield United in the quarterfinals of the competition. The winner of that last-eight tie will qualify for the semifinals.
Lucas Torreira will miss the remaining league games for Arsenal this season starting from the trip to face outgoing champions Manchester City on Wednesday night as the Gunners fight for a spot in the Champions League next season.
Arsenal have ten games to play in the Premier League this term as they try to make up the points on the leading pack for Champions League football.
Fourth and fifth spots would be enough for Champions League football next season. Arsenal is eight points off Chelsea in fourth position and five points off Manchester United in fifth spot having played one less game than both Chelsea and Manchester United.
Arsenal will play that outstanding game later this week in what’s a tough game at Premier League champions Manchester City.
Champions League: Liverpool, Chelsea Set To Discover Last 16 Opponents
Four English Clubs namely Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur will find out their opponents in the last 16 of this season’s Champions League after the teams scaled through the group stage which ended on Wednesday night.
The Champions League last 16 draw will take place on Monday afternoon.
Liverpool are the defending champions and they finished as Group E winners ahead of fellow qualifiers Napoli, Red Bull Salzburg, and Genk.
The Reds can only face teams outside England as well as those that finished in second place in the last 16.
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Potential opponents for Liverpool include Real Madrid, Atalanta, Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, and Zenit St. Petersburg.
For Chelsea, they finished as runners-up in Group H behind Spanish La Liga club Valencia and ahead of Ajax Amsterdam and Lille.
The Blues can only face the group winners that are not from the Premier League and their possible opponents include French champions Paris Saint Germain (PSG), German champions Bayern Munich, Italian champions Juventus, Spanish champions Barcelona and German Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig.
Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur are the other Premier League clubs in the Champions League and they finished as Group C winners and Group B runners-up respectively to book their last 16 spot.