Liverpool 1-0 Napoli

Liverpool 1-0 Napoli: View From The Press Box

Liverpool made a number of changes for this must-win Champions League tie against Napoli, altering their personnel and their formation from the weekend’s Premier League meeting with Bournemouth.

In that game Jürgen Klopp had gone with a mixed formation which resembled his 4-2-3-1, but in truth was more 4-2-2-2 or 4-4-1-1, using Naby Keita wide on the left, Shaqiri right, with Roberto Firmino dropping deeper than fellow forward Mohamed Salah.

For this crunch game it was back to the old favourite — 4-3-3 — and the old favourites, James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum, against the 4-4-2 of Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli.

Liverpool tactics v Napoli

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Barcelona vs Tottenham

Barcelona vs Tottenham Preview: Dembélé to send Spurs out?

Barcelona have secured top spot in Group B of the Champions League but with a final match against Tottenham at the Camp Nou left to play, the Catalans will want to finish the first round in style.

Tottenham will be hoping that Inter lose or at the very least draw against PSV in the other group match and will want to walk away with three points on Tuesday to qualify for the Round of 16. However, even with Ernesto Valverde’s team having already secured qualification and with a plethora of injuries hitting the team, things will not be easy for Mauricio Pochettino’s men.

Sergi Roberto, Samuel Umtiti, Arthur and Malcom are all out for the blaugrana. Nelson Semedo is playing to prove a point and make that right back position his to keep in Sergi Roberto’s absence.

In midfield, Arturo Vidal, Ivan Rakitic, Denis Suarez, Coutinho and Carles Aleñá have made sure that Arthur’s absence isn’t felt. And at the back, Clement Lenglent has formed a formidable partnership alongside veteran Gerard Pique. Read More

Tottenham vs Inter

Tottenham vs Inter Preview: Spurs in high spirits ahead of crucial clash

Spurs go into their must win midweek Champions League clash against Internazionale in great spirits after pulling off their best performance of the season, beating Chelsea 3-1 at Wembley.

Spurs’ 3-1 scoreline against Chelsea was a flattering one for the Blues who were outplayed for 90 minutes and had Tottenham been more clinical, the score could have been even higher.

Spurs were rampant from the get-go playing with a high intensity, managing to create a number of chances before going 1-0 up after eight minutes after Dele Alli latched onto a free kick from Christian Eriksen and headed in.

Spurs made it 2-0 after 16 minutes when Harry Kane was given too much space on the edge of the box and his shot from 25-yards beat David Luiz and Kepa Arrizabalaga. Twelve’s algorithm rated Kane as the man of the match.

Chelsea manager Mauruzio Sarri said after the game that with Spurs if Inter Milan are to stop Tottenham they must thwart off their early high intensity onslaught in the first 30 minutes by disrupting their flow. Read More

Manchester United vs Young Boys Champions League preview

Manchester United vs Young Boys Preview: Attack! Attack! Attack!

After a disappointing weekend, Manchester United fans will be hoping the manager and players can redeem themselves somewhat when they take on Young Boys at home in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

On the back of a difficult period of fixtures, which has seen them face the likes of Manchester City, Juventus and Chelsea all away from home, United now have a string of easier games. The result against Crystal Palace suggests these matches won’t be as simple as they should be though.

However, you would imagine that despite their recent form, United should be able to secure a result against the Swiss side. Away from home, United won 3-0, thanks to goals from Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial, so a home victory shouldn’t be beyond them.

All eyes will be on Jose Mourinho’s team selection though, with him stubbornly picking Nemanja Matic and Romelu Lukaku whenever they are available, regardless of their performances. This season, both have fallen way short of expectations yet Mourinho has persisted. Read More

PSG vs Liverpool

PSG vs Liverpool Preview: Will the real Liverpool please stand up?

PSG vs Liverpool has the potential to be a classic, a feast of attacking football which people will look back upon for years to come. But there’s a potential fly in the ointment; the Reds’ two away performances in the 2018/19 Champions League suggest they don’t stand a chance in Paris.

What’s weird about their losses at Napoli and Crvena Zvezda is that they are so out of character with Liverpool’s results this season. Granted, their performance level within matches they’ve won has left a little to be desired at times. However, as the following chart of their expected goal stats from the season so far will demonstrate, by this measure at least they’ve largely got the results they deserved. Read More

Lyon vs Manchester City

Lyon vs Manchester City Preview: Lyon To Themselves

The first game of City’s Champions League campaign happened to be their worst result of the season so far. A 1-2 reverse to Olympique Lyonnais has since been followed by several decisive European victories against Hoffenheim and Shakhtar Donetsk, but as City’s only defeat this season the memory still lingers.

Did Lyon’s win mean they have some sort of secret sauce to beat City? Not particularly. This was more City being out of sorts in their initial Champions League encounter

Lyon’s defensive shape was pretty high, though they were decidedly not pressing City’s center-backs, waiting until the ball moved to Fernandinho to apply pressure. This is generally the right approach as City can eviscerate a high press and conceding too much space is often a death sentence.

City’s Usage Rates from the game appear to show Lyon’s approach worked, with Fernandinho’s Usage substantially increased from his season’s average as he struggled with passing and lost the ball three times. That said, most of the time City failed in the buildup it was mostly their own making, not an exceptional Lyon effort. Read More

Juventus vs Manchester United

Juventus vs Manchester United Preview: Will United turn up this time?

The reason why both David Moyes and Louis van Gaal were sacked by Manchester United was their inability to guide Manchester United to the Champions League. The former was sacked two days after it became mathematically impossible for the team to finish in the top four, even though the reality was that it had been confirmed much earlier.

Van Gaal was sacked two days after winning the FA Cup with United in 2016. They finished fifth that season and therefore missed out on qualification for the elite European competition.

In contrast, Jose Mourinho booked United’s place in the Champions League at the end of his first season in charge after winning the Europa League. United bowed out in the first knock-out round following the group stage though, after putting up very little fight against Sevilla.

Still, in the following season, United finished second and again qualified for the competition, and supporters will be hoping for improved performances in this campaign. Read More

Tottenham vs PSV Eindhoven

Tottenham vs PSV Eindhoven Preview: Spurs struggling with fixture pile up

Despite their best ever start to a Premier League season Spurs have found it difficult to get going especially with the recent fixture congestion.

Tottenham’s Champions League clash with PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday night will be their fourth game in the space of eight days and after not adding to their squad in the summer, Spurs are struggling to keep their players fit. With injuries to Dembele, Danny Rose and Eric Dier, Spurs will be relying on less favoured players over this tough period.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side were unconvincing in their 3-2 victory over Wolves, having nearly blown a 3-0 lead. Goals from all three of Spurs’ attackers (Erik Lamela, Lucas Moura and Harry Kane) put Tottenham in a very comfortable position after 68 minutes. However, after conceding two penalties in the space of 11 minutes Spurs endured a very shaky last 10 minutes trying to hold onto the lead. Read More

Inter vs Barcelona

Inter vs Barcelona Preview: Catalans to secure a last 16 spot?

FC Barcelona will look to clinch a berth in the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League when they visit Inter Milan at the San Siro on Tuesday night.

Ernesto Valverde’s men will be looking to continue their good form of late, having won their last five matches in all competitions and this with the likely addition of Lionel Messi. The Argentine has missed Barcelona’s last four matches, including the 2-0 win against Inter at the Camp Nou. However, he has been included in the squad list despite not receiving the green light as of yet.

Messi’s absence has coincided with the rebirth of Luis Suárez, as it’s the number 9 who’s been carrying the goal scoring load. The Uruguayan has netted six goals since Messi went down with his shoulder injury (three of which came in the clasico against Real Madrid) and is back to his best. Read More