There was an air of familiarity about the draw Liverpool were handed for the group stage of this season’s Champions League on Thursday. Jurgen Klopp’s side were drawn alongside Red Bull Salzburg and Genk, but the Anfield side will also face Napoli for the second successive campaign.
Despite going all the way in the Champions League last season, Liverpool enjoyed mixed success against the Serie A side in the group stage, suffering a defeat in the away game and only winning 1-0 at Anfield. Of course, a patchy group stage was just the precursor for a glorious charge from the Reds as they went on to claim their sixth European Cup.
Now that the group stage draw has been made for the new season, those associated with Liverpool will start to plot a route through the tournament. And there’s no reason to believe Klopp’s men can’t go all the way for a second successive season. There’s much more to their challenge than just the omen of drawing Napoli again.
Klopp has built a team that is tailored for the European game. Liverpool are among the very best at opening up space in the final third and have played a role in setting the continent-wide zeitgeist of fast and furious football over the past few years. Those who embrace chaos stand a better chance in the Champions League and this is what Liverpool do best.
Of course, Manchester City must also be considered among this season’s favourites, while any team boasting Lionel Messi will be there and there abouts. If Barcelona complete a deal for the signing of Neymar before the close of the transfer window, they might be irresistible having already signed Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong this summer.
Indeed, the usual suspects will be mentioned as contenders. There are questions against both Bayern Munich and Real Madrid right now, but the quality of their squads makes them impossible to discount. Juventus have also focussed all their attentions on attaining European success these past couple years.
But Liverpool will surely be among the frontrunners for another year. They have maintained an impressive level of consistency in the Champions League over the past two seasons and their start to the 2019/20 Premier League campaign, which has seen them win three from three, suggests there will be no drop off.
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