Liverpool are 8/1 third favourites to retain their Champions League title next season, with Manchester City favourites to finally conquer Europe for the first time.
Jurgen Klopp got his first major trophy as Reds boss but even with Liverpool still basking in the glory of making it six European Cup victories thoughts have already turned to who can land the big prize next year.
Real Madrid’s three-year reign ended and they look a team in need of rebuilding, Juventus still can’t go that extra step despite signing Ronaldo and Man City and PSG still can’t seem to get to grips with the latter stages of the competition.
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With doubts around Europe’s big guns, English clubs could again lead the way in the Champions League – and Liverpool will be a popular bet to make it three final appearances in a row. Especially with next year’s final being staged at the scene of their great 2005 triumph in Instanbul…
Here’s how next year’s Champions League contenders measure up.
Perennial favourites and rightly so given the strength and depth in Pep Guardiola’s squad, and the limitless spending power he has at his disposal – there’s no doubt he’ll make more additions to his star-studded squad this summer.
City just haven’t warmed to the Champions League as a club though – leading Guardiola to have to try and rally the fans ahead of the Spurs game. Having failed at Bayern, there’s no doubt the manager wants, and needs, to win this trophy here so there’ll be big pressure to go deep next season.
They’ve still Spanish champions, they’ve still got Messi and they’ll make new signings in the summer so they’re bound to go close again. That said, they’ve lost badly to Roma and Liverpool in the last two season and that will leave deep scars going forward. They won’t feel safe even with a three-goal lead in the latter stages next season.
Back-to-back finalists have a lot going for them, with none of their starters expected to leave and the likes of Oxlade-Chamberlain, Keita and Gomez expected to play a bigger role next season. They proved this year that they can handle a Premier League and European challenge so there should be no problem on that score unless injuries hit.
Going against them is that it’s desperately difficult to get to one final, let alone three in a row, although Real Madrid showed it can be done and when you get that air of confidence in this competition you can be a match for anyone.
Dominating in Italy with eighth titles in a row but hit a wall in Europe leading to Ronaldo being brought in – and he did the trick to get through against Atletico but even he couldn’t stop Ajax. Aaron Ramsey adds some quality and depth, when fit, but they look an ageing side in areas so a lot will depend on more summer reinforcements.
A case of the Man City’s with another state-owned side that really struggle to get to the sharp end of the Champions League despite dominating their domestic league, and it’s that lack of weekly competition that is often cited as a reason why.
Defeat to Man Utd was a bit of a freak but the fact is they’ve not progressed beyond the quarter-finals in their Qatari owners and they’ll be desperate to improve on that record. Neymar’s recent issues won’t help, but signings like De Light and Coutinho certainly would if they could get them.
A lot to do for the returning Zidane who has no Ronaldo to lean on this time around so it’ll be fascinating how he goes about rebuilding this squad. Gareth Bale, and his wage packet, is a huge problem given he doesn’t want to leave but Zidane has no faith in him.
Eden Hazard, of course, could be the answer to most of their problems if he can find his feet quickly in Spain if he completes his expected move – and that would instantly give Real a real chance of challenging Barcelona in the league and fighting to regain their European crown.
The German champions were outclassed by Liverpool who highlighted a big gap between the current Bavarian giants and their ageing squad. Leroy Sane would help, but may not fill all the gaps and, remember, coach Niko Kovac almost lost his job during the season so he has still not yet convinced.
There’s a lot of doom and gloom after defeat in Madrid but there is huge cause for optimism as long as Mauricio Pochettino stays and is finally allowed to buy a player or two this summer. Given how his side performed in Europe this year, and at times in the Premier League, they’re not too far behind City and Liverpool on their best day.
And you don’t need the consistency of a league challenge to get through the Champions League, so when the dust settles Spurs should be looking to challenge again in Europe – as long as Poch is given the ammunition.
Losing Godin and Griezmann this summer will be a hammer blow for Atleti, and unless they make some major additions it’ll be a tough ask for them to enjoy anything like their previous success.
You really can’t take a view on Chelsea until their transfer ban and manager situation are sorted out. Changing managers seems no problem for this club, but not being able to sign any players, and losing Hazard, would surely rule them out of making an impact in this tournament. They do enjoy top seeding though given they won the Europa League.
You’d love to think this young Ajax side could go again and use the pain that Spurs defeat to go one better, but with De Jong gone, De Ligt going and numerous others being hunted down by the vultures around Europe they look to have missed their chance.