With both Manchester City and United already through to the knockout stages of the Champions League with a game each left to play, Spurs and Liverpool faced tough tasks in attempting to join them. Whilst it wasn’t exactly a perfect group stage for English clubs, with only Man City looking likely to top their group, having all the Premier League sides through to the next round is certainly a success other nations have failed to attain.
Spurs secured their place by earning a much deserved and hard fought point away to Barcelona. Whilst they were assisted by Barca manager Valverde opting to leave out a few key players, Lionel Messi included, any result in a trip to the Camp Nou is still a massive achievement. It looked as if Tottenham were going to struggle when they conceded early on. However, the North London club managed to pull one back thanks to Lucas Moura and were able to hold on for the remaining few minutes. Most would have thought a draw probably wouldn’t be enough for them to qualify with Inter Milan playing at home against bottom of the group PSV. Despite being strong favourites, they were unable to capitalise on the opportunity being held to a 1-1 draw at the San Siro, a result which which allowed Spurs to steal second place. Although they will now face a difficult game in the next round, Tottenham fans will be optimistic that their side can progress against any of Europe’s top sides following last night’s impressive display.
Unlike Tottenham, Liverpool knew anything less than a win wouldn’t be enough to see them progress. The Merseyside club required a 1-0 win or to win by a two goal margin. Opponents Napoli looked unlikely to go the entire game without scoring knowing a goal would massively enhance their hopes of reaching the next round. However, they failed to break down a secure Liverpool defence and lost the game 1-0. Salah kept up his impressive goal scoring form to help his side, like Spurs, finish second in the group meaning a tough knockout fixture awaits the reds. Liverpool’s outing in Champions League last season showed they are more than capable of getting a long way through the competition regardless of who they come up against.
With all 4 of the English clubs securing their places in the next round of the Champions League, this competition provides a real opportunity for the trophy to return to England after spending the last three years in Madrid. England’s top sides have certainly displayed they should not be overlooked as possible winners this year. United have beaten Juventus away, Liverpool have played two very competitive matches against French giants PSG and Tottenham could have quite easily earned more than a draw away to Barcelona. Europe’s top competition is filled with impressive sides meaning anyone could win it, the English clubs included.