It hasn’t been the best possible start for England’s representatives in their pursuit for Champions League glory. So far, all three Premier League delegates have lost their first-leg bouts with Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspurs’ European destiny’s all hanging in the balance.
Although the Reds were on the end of a Diego Simeone masterclass following their 1-0 defeat upon their return to the Spanish capital, Jurgen Klopp’s European champions still firmly remain favourites to progress to the quarter-finals with Anfield waiting to effect once again.
However, for Tottenham and particularly Chelsea, there was the glaring reality of just how far behind both teams are behind Europe’s elite. After all, it was only eight months ago we had an all-English final when Liverpool defeated Spurs in Madrid to reign supreme in the competition for a sixth time.
Frank Lampard’s Chelsea were humbled by three-goals-to-nill as Bayern Munich gave the Londoners a schooling in their own backyard. It came as a surprise to see how dominant the Bundesliga leaders were on their return to England following their clash with Liverpool last season.
Klopp was able to emerge from the home leg unscathed despite the absence of the UEFA Player of the Year Virgil van Dijk with Fabinho – alongside Joel Matip – forced to operate as an auxiliary central defender.
The return clash at the Allianz Arena saw Liverpool dish out Bayern a footballing lesson as the Reds dominated proceedings from start-to-finish to win the second-leg 3-1 in what was ultimately the defining match of Niko Kovac’s Bayern tenure.
Liverpool’s stronghold and superiority against the German champions depicted a glaring example of men against boys. However, fast forward 12 months and it was a mirror-opposite for Bayern when they came up against another English opponent.
Bayern have enjoyed their recent trips to the English capital after the continental giants inflicted a historic 7-2 home defeat on Spurs in October and a 5-1 romping at the Emirates Stadium in March 2017.
However, this doesn’t just represent Bayern’s undeniable quality but instead the huge gulf in class that currently lies with Liverpool and the rest of the English league. It isn’t at all surprising to see Chelsea utterly dominated so vigorously when you consider the Blues currently trail Klopp’s team in the league by 35 points despite still being in February.
Already, Liverpool have wrapped up title proceedings and will win the English top-flight at a canter which makes the notion of the nation’s prospects in the Champions League this season all the more uninspiring.
Last season, saw two of England’s competitors reach the pinnacle of club football and neither were the Premier League-winners. This highlights that while Liverpool have gone up another level since being crowned European champions, the rest of the pack have fallen devastatingly behind.