UCL preview: Liverpool, Spurs need final-day results
Four of the eight UEFA Champions League groups are set to wrap up on Tuesday, and a pair of Premier League sides have plenty of work still ahead of them if they are to progress to the knockout rounds.
Liverpool (6 points) enter the final day of Group C play in third place, trailing both Napoli (9), their opponents on Tuesday, and Paris Saint-Germain (8). PSG will visit fourth-place Red Star Belgrade. Anything and everything — from finishing first, to fourth place and bottom of the group — remains in play for the Reds. A victory would see Liverpool into at least second place, with an outside shot of leapfrogging the Parisians for the top spot.
Last year’s finalists will welcome the current leaders to what will surely be a thunderous night at Anfield, where they’ve managed to collect all six of their group points to date (losses in all three away games, by a combined four goals). Liverpool were beaten by Lorenzo Insigne’s last-minute winner in Naples back in October.
As for Tottenham Hotspur, the requirements — a victory, which sounds straightforward enough — are the same as Liverpool, though the details might just prove far more difficult. Currently positioned in second place (7 points), well behind Tuesday’s opposition, Barcelona (13), and just ahead of Inter Milan (7) on goals scored.
A must-win trip to the Camp Nou is what Mauricio Pochettino’s side faces after picking up just one point from their first three games in Group B, including a 4-2 hammering from Barca at Wembley Stadium in October. There is one potential silver lining for Tottenham, though, and that is the fact that Barca have already clinched top spot in the group and have nothing to gain from Tuesday’s finale.
The likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez could perhaps be rested by Ernesto Valverde, which seems like a real cause for optimism until you realize that means that the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele — pretty good players in their own right — would then be called upon to shoulder the load.
Groups A and D — where Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, and Porto and Schalke, respectively, have already secured their places in the round of 16 — offer far less intrigue, though Dortmund could still usurp Atleti to finish top.
Wednesday’s full UCL schedule
Galatasaray vs. Porto — 12:55 p.m. ET
Schalke vs. Lokomotiv Moscow — 12:55 p.m. ET
Liverpool vs. Napoli — 3 p.m. ET
Barcelona vs. Tottenham Hotspur — 3 p.m. ET
Red Star Belgrade vs. Paris Saint-Germain — 3 p.m. ET
Monaco vs. Borussia Dortmund — 3 p.m. ET
Club Brugge vs. Atletico Madrid — 3 p.m. ET
Inter Milan vs. PSV Eindhoven — 3 p.m. ET