Can Liverpool avoid pitfalls of past domestic title winners in Champions League?

Can Liverpool avoid pitfalls of past domestic title winners in Champions League?

Liverpool’s long wait for the Premier League crown is all but over following Manchester City’s defeat at the hands of Tottenham. The Reds have a 22-point lead at the top of the table and are steamrolling their way towards the title for the first time in 30 years.

Jurgen Klopp’s men have been sensational and will surely be remembered as one of the greatest Premier League teams of all-time. If results go in their favour over the course of the next six weeks, the Merseysiders could even have the opportunity to clinch the crown at Goodison Park against Everton.

That would be the icing on the cake for Liverpool fans, who have endured an agonising wait for the top-flight trophy to return to Anfield. Their football betting odds are so short at this stage of the season it is better value to find winner markets that do not include them. Targeting Leicester City to finish above Manchester City could be a solid value punt as there is no other team in the picture to place in the slot behind the Reds.

Given that the Premier League is already wrapped up, Klopp and his men can now turn their attention towards the defence of their Champions League crown. Elite teams in the past have found dominating their respective domestic divisions has done them a disservice in their hopes to triumph in Europe. The Reds may have to be on their guard if they are to accomplish a rare feat of winning the league and the European Cup.

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Paris Saint-Germain’s imperious hold of Ligue 1 has more often than not seen them all but crowned as French champions before the end of January. This has affected their performances in the Champions League where they have struggled to elevate their game back to their optimum level.

PSG were defeated by Barcelona and Real Madrid in the past, although those sides would rightfully say they could have beaten the French outfit even if they were playing at their best. However, Thomas Tuchel’s men suffered the ignominy of losing to a poor Manchester United side in the round of 16 last season, blowing a 2-0 lead from the first leg as they crumbled to a 3-1 loss at the Parc des Princes. PSG won Ligue 1, but their ultimate goal of clinching the Champions League crown evaded them in disastrous fashion.

Manchester City endured a similar fate in the 2017/18 season, having had the Premier League title safely within their grasp for the majority of the campaign. Liverpool were the side to dump them out at the quarter-final stage, with City failing to find their top gear when they needed it the most. Pep Guardiola’s men lost both matches home and away to the Reds, who were clinical on their way to the final before being defeated by Real Madrid.

It is the challenge awaiting Klopp and company in the coming weeks when they face off against Atletico Madrid in the round of 16. Diego Simeone’s side are a savvy team and few sides relish playing against Los Rojiblancos. The exploits over the course of the campaign in the Premier League may begin to take their effect, while the club already have nothing to prove in Europe following their triumph last season. Anything other than Liverpool’s peak effort may not be good enough to advance and there are plenty of warning signs from other top-quality outfits of the past.