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Manchester City bid to seal qualification – 5 Champions League talking points

City top their group on maximum points, while the other three English clubs have plenty still to do.

Pep Guardiola’s side can seal Champions League qualification (Martin Rickett/PA)
Pep Guardiola’s side can seal Champions League qualification (Martin Rickett/PA)

By PA Sport Staff

The Champions League group stage continues this week with holders Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham and Chelsea all in action.

City top their group on maximum points, while the other three English clubs have plenty still to do in their bid to qualify for the knockout phase.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at five things to look out for in the fourth round of fixtures.

Reds have no room for error

Liverpool, aiming for a third straight Group E win, cannot afford to drop points at Anfield on Tuesday against Belgian champions Genk. Jurgen Klopp’s side have beaten Salzburg and Genk since launching their European title defence with defeat in Napoli, while Sadio Mane’s last-gasp goal at Aston Villa on Saturday kept them top of the Premier League. Klopp will surely have one eye on Sunday’s home clash with Manchester City when finalising his squad for Tuesday’s tie.

City set sights on Italian job

Raheem Sterling has scored 13 goals in 15 appearances in all competitions for City this season (Martin Rickett/PA)

City have so far dominated Group E, taking maximum points while conceding one goal in the process. Pep Guardiola’s side, who have won five straight games in all competitions since last month’s shock home defeat to Wolves, could qualify as group winners with victory in Italy on Wednesday against Atalanta if Dinamo Zagreb and Shakhtar Donetsk draw their match. Raheem Sterling fired a hat-trick when City thrashed the Serie A high-flyers 5-1 two weeks ago.

Blues aim to go double Dutch

Michy Batshuayi’s late strike sealed a vital win for Chelsea in Amsterdam (John Walton/PA)

Chelsea will leapfrog Ajax at the top of Group H if they beat the Dutch giants at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday. Michy Batshuayi’s late winner at the Johan Cruijff Arena a fortnight ago sealed the Blues’ second group win and put them back in contention after losing their opening group game to Valencia. Frank Lampard’s young side are in top form, winning eight of their last nine in all competitions, but defeat, coupled with a Valencia win against Lille, could spell trouble.

Spurs must end away-day blues

Everton’s Cenk Tosun consoles Son Heung-min following his challenge on Andre Gomes (Nick Potts/PA)

Tottenham gave their Group B qualifying hopes a huge boost two weeks ago by following up their 7-2 home defeat to Bayern Munich by thrashing Red Star 5-0. Spurs head to Belgrade for the return on Wednesday knowing another win will put them in a strong position, but they have not won away from home in any competition this season. It remains to be seen if Son Heung-min will feature. He appeared distraught after his tackle on Andre Gomes in Sunday’s draw at Goodison Park left the Everton midfielder with a fracture dislocation to his right ankle.

Barca must pick themselves up again

Levante’s players and fans celebrate their third goal during Saturday’s shock win against Barcelona (Alberto Saiz/AP)

Barcelona’s quest for domestic and European glory this season was dealt another stunning blow on Saturday when they lost 3-1 at Levante. Ernesto Valverde’s side, and Lionel Messi in particular, had been in breathtaking form four days earlier against Valladolid, but who knows what display they will put on at Camp Nou on Tuesday against Slavia Prague? Barca were fortunate to beat them 2-1 in the Czech Republic capital two weeks ago.



From Belfast Telegraph