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Assessing the EPL clubs in the UCL Round of 16

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The Champions League Round of 16 is nearly upon us, and there are plenty of fascinating matchups to be excited about.

In fact, there’s a great deal of quality among the 16 remaining clubs, and it looks as if we’ll largely see traditional top teams battling it out for Champions League glory. In this piece though, we’ll zero in on the English teams left in the running and assess their respective places in the field.

Liverpool

First up is the defending champion Liverpool, which is in the midst of one of the best stretches in its history. Indeed, the Reds are in a fascinating position, in that they’re prohibitive betting favourites to capture the 2019-20 Premier League title – which, in many seasons, would lead people to believe that they’d take it easier in Champions League play in order not to blow the domestic title. But in this case, Liverpool might just have such a big lead back home in England that it will be able to put a full effort toward a repeat Champions League title.

Liverpool has a very difficult matchup against Atlético Madrid to start the knock-outs, but should still be favoured for a deep run.

Liverpool FC v SSC Napoli: Group E - UEFA Champions League
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 27: Dejan Lovren of Liverpool acknowledges the fans following the UEFA Champions League group E match between Liverpool FC and SSC Napoli at Anfield on November 27, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Manchester City

It’s possible, then, that City could continue to pour its efforts into catching up in the EPL. However, if the bookmakers are giving City a sliver of a chance in the Premier League, it’s important to note that some of them are citing the Manchester club as the betting favourite in the Champions League. This appears to be based on two things: the EPL situation that will more likely lead to City turning its attention to the Champions League, and the pure quality of the club.

Like Liverpool, Man City has a tough draw and will need to beat Real Madrid to advance. But it still looks the part of a contender.

Gabriel Jesus, manchester city
ZAGREB, CROATIA – DECEMBER 11: Gabriel Jesus of Manchester City celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal during the UEFA Champions League group C match between Dinamo Zagreb and Manchester City at Maksimir Stadium on December 11, 2019 in Zagreb, Croatia. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Tottenham Hotspur

In a vacuum, it would be fair to say that Tottenham hasn’t had the most impressive of seasons, particularly when matched up against some of the juggernauts featured among these last 16. The Spurs allowed 14 goals in the group stage (admittedly, many came against a red-hot Bayern Munich attack), and has underperformed on the domestic front, currently sitting well beneath the threshold for qualification in the next Champions League. On top of all this, the Spurs will also be without striker Harry Kane until April.

tottenham jose mourinho harry kane
LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 26: Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur with Harry Winks and Dele Alli during the UEFA Champions League group B match between Tottenham Hotspur and Olympiacos FC at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on November 26, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Chelsea

Chelsea has been an interesting team to watch throughout this Premier League season, and while club supporters will always have their gripes, it’s fair to say that the team is on the right track under Frank Lampard. The Blues have essentially been within one goal, win or lose, of the top teams in the league throughout the 2019/20 campaign, which gives the impression that they’re right in the mix.

On the Champions League front though, a tough draw has left Chelsea as a clear underdog in the Round of 16. The club will meet Bayern Munich, which after a blistering performance in group play is now considered among the top contenders (even if the bookmakers largely favour Manchester City and Liverpool as outright winners). Still, with the first leg of that pairing taking place at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea will have a chance to make a matchup of it.

There’s no telling, in the end, who will advance from this point forward. But there’s an awful lot of quality, and potentially some luck to be had between these clubs. We can be fairly certain that at least some of the English teams will be heard from into the end stages of the Champions League.

Reece James, Chelsea, Champions League
LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 05: Reece James of Chelsea celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s fourth goal during the UEFA Champions League group H match between Chelsea FC and AFC Ajax at Stamford Bridge on November 05, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Collaborative Post (Trisha Williams)