Liverpool: How hard is it for Champions League holders to retain title?

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By Tom Rostance
BBC Sport
Liverpool start their pursuit of a third straight Champions League final when they face Napoli in Italy on Tuesday.
The European winners – and – also runners-up at 2018 – will aspire to play 13 matches at the competition between now and the closing on 30 May 2020 at Istanbul, the scene of one of the nights in the history 14 decades back of the club.
But how hard is it to keep the Champions League? And is a lean in doing this likely to come at the cost of another holy grail in Anfield – a first league title in a generation?
If it was easy, everybody would do it. Retaining the Champions League trophy has eluded the greatest of club sides.
Before Zinedine Zidane took Real Madrid to 3 straight wins in 2016, 2017 and 2018, no other side had won the trophy back since Frank Rijkaard’s goal in Vienna was sufficient to Arrigo Sacchi’s grand AC Milan group to take the honor in 1990.
Even Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona – possibly the best club this century -‘just’ was able to win the trophy at a three-year spell. In fact, Barcelona haven’t managed two finals in a couple of years.
Considering that the Cup began in 1956, 11 sides have produced it into successive finals, using the first 30 years.
Liverpool are in the middle of a third distinct spell of finals than any other club.
Only finals have been handled by Valencia without winning , while the run of five straight in the birth of the competition of Real appears secure – for a few years.
Just one has completed in the group phase, since the Champions League began in 1992.
That is Chelsea’s, that were out of this tournament six weeks after winning it.
Hindsight would imply as a haul of 10 points saw them eliminated by Shakhtar Donetsk, whose two goals within defeat at Stamford Bridge proved the difference on head-to-head away goals that Roberto di Matteo’s Blues were unfortunate.
Scorer of the two goals? Willian – that, of course, combined Chelsea at 2013.
So it would be a mighty shock in the event the Reds failed to make it from Group E at which along with Napoli, then they face Genk and Red Bull Salzburg.
But remember that they were close to being eliminated at the group stage this past year. Needing to beat – you have guessed it – Napoli by 1-0 or two clear targets to progress. They won 1-0 win, helped by a rescue that was late by Alissonto hide themselves.
Once over that hurdle, much depends on the attraction – but at the previous ten years, the prior year’s finalists have attained the last eight years lost in the five days and won the prize four times.
Liverpool have not won the league title since 1990 as though you didn’t know. They go into this first week of the Champions League with an early – but possibly significant – lead near the peak of the Premier League.
Might it be possible to focus on either?
Recent history suggests . After all, in case you have the very best group in Europe there’s a chance you will have the best team in your own country.
In precisely the same season on five events, the Champions League winners have won their title in the past 10 decades. Barcelona will be the masters of this art – .
Needless to say, squad direction is very likely to be very important. Klopp bridled at a question that indicated he may choose to concentrate more about the league this year, after dispatching Newcastle on Saturday. But he’d opt to begin forwards and Jordan Henderson Roberto Firmino from the Magpies. Can he have one eye Napoli?
“Any info on how we can do it differently?” the German asked. “I am interested, what can we do? We do not make the difference between competitions, we did. It is where form about accessibility, who is – that is the way decisions are made by us when we could.
“The majority of the time people could not make too many adjustments, to tell the truth. We always had to bring individuals could at least walk. We say we play 60, 70, 80 percent of and can not go to Napoli. They are really good. That is a opponent. They caused us difficulties and we have to ensure the problems won’t be that large this time.”
Last year’s run to the final in Madrid did not affect Liverpool’s performance in the league. After allthey gathered 97 points and lost annually.
They won 10 of the 12 Premier League fixtures following European action, however were perhaps lucky to be for all these matches .
This year, the fixture computer has given the Reds five home matches following their six Champions League group matches, with next weekend’s trip. In contrast, half of the 12 group fixtures of Manchester City over the previous two seasons are followed by away games.
While they appear to have benefited on the travel front, Liverpool do have matches against a year’s Champions League runners-up Tottenham, Chelsea and name rivals Manchester City instantly following European games – so it is hardly a cakewalk.
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