After last season’s momentous exploits by English clubs in Europe, there is every chance that the country’s top teams will be challenging for honors again.
While it is too early to start predicting the outcome of the 2019/20 Europa League – because eight of the teams which contest the knockout stages will have started out in Europe’s elite competition – there is every chance that England’s four representatives in the Champions League will make it through to the latter stages next spring.
Even Manchester United, who endured one of their poorest Premier League seasons in almost 30 years, reached the quarterfinals of the Champions League in 2019, before being demolished by Barcelona. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad will have to contest a Europa League campaign this time around.
As for the Champions League, while accepting that perhaps Tottenham overachieved by reaching the final in Madrid on June 1st, the prospects of a Liverpool-Manchester City final are very real indeed.
All of City’s star names have remained at the Etihad Stadium, while two more were added from La Liga and Serie A.
The 23-year-old defensive midfielder Rodri arrives from Atletico Madrid for £63m, while Portuguese full-back Joao Cancelo has left Juventus for a reported £58.5m.
Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool has hardly changed since they won the Champions League in June.
Little significant business has been done by the German who is obviously contented with the make-up of his squad. Teenage center back Sepp van den Berg arrives at Anfield from Dutch club PEC Zwolle and is obviously viewed as a future prospect, while the Reds have taken West Ham keeper Adrian on a free transfer.
Liverpool and City played out a goalless draw in Wembley’s Charity Shield on the first Sunday in August, which the latter won on penalties. It was possibly the first of many major showdowns between the two teams this coming season.
The two clubs could possibly face each other again in Turkey next May when the final is hosted by Istanbul.
According to Betfair, the light blues from east Manchester are the clear favorites to win the one trophy they failed to lift last year. City is +400, while Liverpool is at +650 to defend its trophy.
England’s two other clubs, Tottenham and Chelsea, are less fancied to contest the final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium.
Spurs, for whom Frenchman Tanguy Ndombele is their main summer purchase, are +2000 with Betfair to go one better this time around. The 22-year-old joins from Lyon, while Kieran Trippier departs for Atletico Madrid. Much is still resting on the possible departure of Christian Eriksson after six seasons at White Hart Lane.
Chelsea is ranked joint eighth at +3300, and it is highly unlikely that Frank Lampard will be able to lead the Blues to glory in his first season as manager.
Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic is their one big signing, costing just over £40m from Real Madrid.
Yet again, the two Spanish giants – Barcelona (+500) and Real Madrid (+750) – are seen as the biggest threats to English clubs in Europe, along with Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus (+750).
Barca has boosted its squad with the signing of French striker Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid – as well as young midfielder Frenkie de Jong from Ajax – while Real have bought big.
Among their five £40m-plus deals are Chelsea magician Eden Hazard and young Eintracht Frankfurt striker Luka Jovic.