Benfica

Benfica slideshow

Benfica routed Boavista 4-0 to move ahead of FC Porto at the top of the Portuguese league on Saturday.
Benfica routs Boavista 4-0 to take lead in Portugal
Benfica routed Boavista 4-0 to move ahead of FC Porto at the top of the Portuguese league on Saturday.
Benfica routed Boavista 4-0 to move ahead of FC Porto at the top of the Portuguese league on Saturday.
Benfica routs Boavista 4-0 to take lead in Portugal
Benfica routed Boavista 4-0 to move ahead of FC Porto at the top of the Portuguese league on Saturday.
Benfica's Jardel (L) celebrates with his teammates Ljubomir Fejsa (C) and Ruben Dias (R) after scoring the 2-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal. EFE
Benfica's Jardel (L) celebrates with his teammates Ljubomir Fejsa (C) and Ruben Dias (R) after scoring the 2-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal. EFE
Benfica's Jardel (L) celebrates with his teammates Ljubomir Fejsa (C) and Ruben Dias (R) after scoring the 2-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal. EFE
Benfica's Jardel (C-R) scores the 2-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal. EFE
Benfica's Jardel (C-R) scores the 2-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal. EFE
Benfica's Jardel (C-R) scores the 2-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal. EFE
Benfica's Andre Almeida (R) in action against Boavista's Mateus (L) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE
Benfica's Andre Almeida (R) in action against Boavista's Mateus (L) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE
Benfica's Andre Almeida (R) in action against Boavista's Mateus (L) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Raul Jimenez (R) celebrates with his teammates after scoring the 4-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Raul Jimenez (R) celebrates with his teammates after scoring the 4-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Raul Jimenez (R) celebrates with his teammates after scoring the 4-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Andre Almeida (R) in action against Boavista's Mateus (L) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Andre Almeida (R) in action against Boavista's Mateus (L) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Andre Almeida (R) in action against Boavista's Mateus (L) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Jonas (R) in action against Boavista's Fabio Espinho (L) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Jonas (R) in action against Boavista's Fabio Espinho (L) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Jonas (R) in action against Boavista's Fabio Espinho (L) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Jonas (R) in action against Boavista's Fabio Espinho (L) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Jonas (R) in action against Boavista's Fabio Espinho (L) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Jonas (R) in action against Boavista's Fabio Espinho (L) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Jardel (2-L) celebrates with his teammates after scoring the 2-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Jardel (2-L) celebrates with his teammates after scoring the 2-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Jardel (2-L) celebrates with his teammates after scoring the 2-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Jardel (L) celebrates with his teammate Ruben Dias (R) after scoring the 2-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Jardel (L) celebrates with his teammate Ruben Dias (R) after scoring the 2-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Jardel (L) celebrates with his teammate Ruben Dias (R) after scoring the 2-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Jardel (L) celebrates with his teammate Ljubomir Fejsa (R) after scoring the 2-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Jardel (L) celebrates with his teammate Ljubomir Fejsa (R) after scoring the 2-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Jardel (L) celebrates with his teammate Ljubomir Fejsa (R) after scoring the 2-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Jardel (C) celebrates with his teammates after scoring the 2-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Jardel (C) celebrates with his teammates after scoring the 2-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Jardel (C) celebrates with his teammates after scoring the 2-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Jardel (L) celebrates with his teammates Ljubomir Fejsa (C) and Ruben Dias (R) after scoring the 2-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Jardel (L) celebrates with his teammates Ljubomir Fejsa (C) and Ruben Dias (R) after scoring the 2-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Jardel (L) celebrates with his teammates Ljubomir Fejsa (C) and Ruben Dias (R) after scoring the 2-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Jardel (C-R) scores the 2-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Jardel (C-R) scores the 2-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Jardel (C-R) scores the 2-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica players celebrate their 1-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica players celebrate their 1-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica players celebrate their 1-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Ruben Dias (front) celebrates with his teammate Jardel (up) after scoring the 1-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Ruben Dias (front) celebrates with his teammate Jardel (up) after scoring the 1-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Ruben Dias (front) celebrates with his teammate Jardel (up) after scoring the 1-0 lead during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Andre Almeida (up R) in action against Boavista's Raphael Rossi (C) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Andre Almeida (up R) in action against Boavista's Raphael Rossi (C) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Andre Almeida (up R) in action against Boavista's Raphael Rossi (C) during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Jonas misses a penalty during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Jonas misses a penalty during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Lisbon (Portugal), 17/02/2018.- Benfica's Jonas misses a penalty during the Portuguese First League soccer match between Benfica Lisbon and Boavista Porto at Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 17 February 2018. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/MARIO CRUZ
Jose Morais worked under Jose Mourinho at Benfica, Inter, Real Madrid and Chelsea and now has the top job at Barnsley.
Former Mourinho assistant Morais takes over at Barnsley
Jose Morais worked under Jose Mourinho at Benfica, Inter, Real Madrid and Chelsea and now has the top job at Barnsley.
<p>Gabigol: I didn&#39;t get a chance at Inter or Benfica</p>
Gabigol: I didn't get a chance at Inter or Benfica

Gabigol: I didn't get a chance at Inter or Benfica

<p>Gabigol: I didn&#39;t get a chance at Inter or Benfica</p>
Gabigol: I didn't get a chance at Inter or Benfica

Gabigol: I didn't get a chance at Inter or Benfica

After failing to make the grade at Inter and Benfica, Brazil striker Gabriel Barbosa has complained he was not given a chance.
Gabigol: I didn't get a chance at Inter or Benfica
After failing to make the grade at Inter and Benfica, Brazil striker Gabriel Barbosa has complained he was not given a chance.
Champions League football returns on Tuesday, three months and one day after the last-16 draw in Nyon, Switzerland. The interlude between group and knockout stages contained winter breaks, a transfer window, managerial dismissals, fluctuations in form and injuries to key players. So who has emerged from European hibernation in the best shape, and who has seen their chances diminish amid a winter of discontent? For the first time in the competition&#39;s history, there are five Premier League teams left in the competition at this stage with Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City first up this week. The complexion of the draw can change significantly after Christmas, so where do we stand? Juventus vs Tottenham Hotspur The defence that never concedes against the striker who always scores. Juventus have been impeccable since they were drawn against Spurs, with 11 consecutive wins in all competitions either side of Serie A&#39;s January break. A 16-match unbeaten run extends into November, during which they have conceded one (ONE) goal. Their early-season struggles threatened to turn Serie A into an exhilarating four or five horse race for the Scudetto, but the Old Lady and Napoli have pulled clear of the rest. Juventus mostly play with a back four now, and have tightened up considerably. Gonzalo Higuain looked rotund in the season&#39;s early weeks but is in fine fettle with six goals in his last four. Paulo Dybala remains an injury doubt despite returning to light training, and Juventus could be also be without summer signings Douglas Costa and Blaise Matuidi. Federico Bernardeschi has deputised ably for Dybala, while old warhorse Claudio Marchisio will take Matuidi&#39;s place. They did no significant business in January. Tottenham vs Arsenal player ratings The last three months have been overwhelmingly positive for Spurs. They are still in the FA Cup and cemented their place in the Champions League places by taking seven points from games against Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool in the last month. January signing Lucas Moura is not cup-tied, and although Toby Alderweireld is set to be left at home, Mauricio Pochettino has a full compliment to choose from. Verdict:Both sides are in fantastic form, though Juventus carry more injury concerns. That said, the timing of Tottenham&#39;s trip to Italy after three high-intensity league games could prove a handicap. FC Basel vs Manchester City The Swiss championship resumed on February 3rd after a lengthy winter break, meaning Basel have only played three competitive matches since the draw pitted them against champions elect Man City. The mid-winter interval halted Basel&#39;s momentum, who were on an eight-match winning streak that included a 1-0 win over Man Utd. The January transfer window may have weakened them too, with promising defender Manuel Akanji moving to Borussia Dortmund for £19 million. The Swiss club re-signed a couple of familiar faces with Champions League experience - Fabian Frei and forward Valentin Stocker. Man City have continued their relentless march to the title, and possibly Premier League history. There are no doubts over form and morale, but their squad has been depleted by a series of medium-term injuries. Will anyone stop Man City? Credit: PA Pep Guardiola has been without Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus, while David Silva has been intermittently absent for family reasons. Benjamin Mendy and Fabian Delph are also on the sidelines, so 21-year-old Oleksandr Zinchenko is likely to fill-in at left back. City failed in a deadline day move for Riyad Mahrez after pulling out of the race for Alexis Sanchez. Verdict:Man City were heavy favourites when the draw was made, and remain so. Injuries might cost them against stronger opponents, but they should negotiate this tie. The winter break makes Basel something of an unknown quantity - will they be fresh and energetic, or rusty and short of City&#39;s intensity? Porto vs Liverpool Remarkably, Porto are only two points clear of Benfica in the Portuguese League despite not losing a league match all season. Sporting Lisbon knocked them out of the League Cup on penalties, but Porto have seven points from nine since the resumption of league football. Felipe will serve a one-match suspension against Liverpool while centre forward Vincent Aboubakar is also an injury doubt. Liverpool lose Philippe Coutinho from their Champions League squad, but do gain January signing Virgil van Dijk who brings the added advantage of not being cup-tied. Liverpool&#39;s form since the draw has been strong, with a surprise defeat away at Swansea and cup exit to West Brom the only blots on the copy book. Jurgen Klopp has no significant injury concerns, and should be able to field a Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah as a front three. Verdict: The balance of the tie has not changed much since the draw. It&#39;s a presentable chance for Liverpool to reach the last eight, but Porto are historically strong at the Estadio do Dragao. Real Madrid vs Paris Saint-Germain The tie of the round, and the odds have shifted significantly in PSG&#39;s favour since the draw. The Champions League is Zinedine Zidane&#39;s only chance to make this season a success, with Real Madrid 17 points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona. Zidane galvanised a group of player&#39;s disillusioned by Rafael Benitez&#39;s methods, the Frenchman is not at the vanguard of tactical innovation. The holders have won just three of their last seven league games, with Cristiano Ronaldo badly out of sorts and goalscoring form. Right-back Dani Carvajal is suspended for the first leg. Paris Saint-Germain could win their first Champions League Credit: AFP PSG on the other hand, are cruising in Ligue 1 with a defeat at Lyon the one hiccup in an otherwise exemplary run of seven league wins in eight since the draw. Kylian Mbappe gave Unai Emery an injury scare but has returned in good time, and although Neymar was pictured with ice on both ankles on Sunday their marquee signing should be available. Verdict: They have won the tournament three times in the past four seasons, but it would be a surprise if Real Madrid progressed. PSG look the pacier, more inventive attacking force and all is not well at the Bernabeu. Sevilla vs Manchester United Sevilla made the startling decision to sack manager Eduardo Berizzo in December, days after he had returned from prostate cancer surgery. His parting gift to the club was a place in the last-16, and Vincenzo Montella will be in the dug-out to face Man Utd. The Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium created a raucous atmosphere, but they have won only two of eight league matches since the draw. Premier League mis-fits Sandro Ramirez and Roque Mesa joined on loan in January, along with Corinthians full-back Guilherme Arana. Simon Kjaer has missed the last eight games with a back injury, but Steven N&#39;Zonzi has been reintegrated under Montella. Man Utd may have &#39;won the transfer window&#39; with the arrival of Alexis Sanchez, but their performances over the past few months have been far from convincing. Jose Mourinho seems reluctant to leave out one of his big-name forwards, and their 4-2-3-1 system has left a sub-standard back four exposed against good sides. Why can&#39;t Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? The former Chelsea manager has a fantastic record in European knock-out football, but might have to rediscover his pragmatic edge to ensure United come back from Spain unscathed. Defensive injuries to Marcos Rojo and particularly Eric Bailly have been debilitating. Verdict: United have even more attacking quality and talent thanks to the purchase of Sanchez, but their back four looks vulnerable for an away game in Europe. You would just about fancy Mourinho to come up with a system to protect them however, and Sevilla are not the team they were under Emery. Chelsea vs Barcelona Two old rivals meet again, and it could be Antonio Conte&#39;s last chance to save his job. The Chelsea&#39;s managers blue on blue combat with the club&#39;s hierarchy lingered through January, and there looked to be open mutiny in the dressing room after 3-0 and 4-1 defeats against Bournemouth and Watford. A back-up striker for Alvaro Morata arrived in Olivier Giroud but public disagreements over transfer policy continued. The Spaniard continues to struggle with a back injury, while Conte has also sidelined last season&#39;s defensive stalwart David Luiz. Confidence is fragile, especially for Tiemoue Bakayoko who looks a shell of the player he was at Monaco. Contenders to replace Conte at Chelsea Barcelona have been functional rather than spectacular in recent weeks, scoring only six goals in their last five in all competitions, but are over the hill and far away in the league. Summer signing Ousmane Dembele returned to the bench against Getafe after a serious thigh injury, while Luis Suarez has re-discovered his goalscoring touch since Christmas. Coutinho is cup-tied having played for Liverpool in the group stages. Verdict: Chelsea were much-fancied when the draw was made, but they look ripe for a pasting unless they can pull a performance out of the fire. Barcelona have been in second gear for a while, and might be saving themselves for the trip to Stamford Bridge. Shakhtar Donetsk vs Roma Shakhtar will have played just one competitive match between December&#39;s draw at the visit of Roma, but have played a series of friendlies in an effort to stay sharp. The big positive for Shakhtar over the winter was keeping central midfielder Fred, though Man City are expected to return for the Brazilian in the summer. The positivity around Roma in the season&#39;s early months has dissipated since the draw, with Eusebio Di Francesco&#39;s team winning only three of their last 10 in all competitions. Defensive midfielder Maxime Gonalons will likely miss out with a calf injury, but the Serie A club did manager to keep Edin Dzeko despite interest from Chelsea. Left-back Emerson Palmieri did get his move to Stamford Bridge, however. Verdict: What kind of shape will Shakhtar be in after a long winter break? The balance of this tie has not really changed, but the Ukranian side showed against Man City what a dynamic side they are. Fred in action against Man City Credit: Reuters Bayern Munich vs Besiktas Under the guidance of Juup Heynckes, Bayern are on a 14-game winning run in all competitions. Their dominance at home has sometimes left previous Bayern teams short on high-intensity match practice, but that should not prove too problematic against Besiktas. The inimitable Manuel Neuer is a long-term absentee, and while they are heavily reliant on Robert Lewandowski, Sandro Wagner did arrive from Hoffenheim in January to share the load. Besiktas surprised many by progressing through a group containing RB Leipzig and Monaco, but lost their centre forward Cenk Tosun to Everton in the January window. Just three points separate the top four in the Turkish league - possibly Europe&#39;s most exciting title race - and Besiktas are in touch after three wins in four. Verdict: Bayern are heavy favourites, and Tosun&#39;s departure only strengthens that.
How has the balance of each Champions League tie changed since the draw?
Champions League football returns on Tuesday, three months and one day after the last-16 draw in Nyon, Switzerland. The interlude between group and knockout stages contained winter breaks, a transfer window, managerial dismissals, fluctuations in form and injuries to key players. So who has emerged from European hibernation in the best shape, and who has seen their chances diminish amid a winter of discontent? For the first time in the competition's history, there are five Premier League teams left in the competition at this stage with Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City first up this week. The complexion of the draw can change significantly after Christmas, so where do we stand? Juventus vs Tottenham Hotspur The defence that never concedes against the striker who always scores. Juventus have been impeccable since they were drawn against Spurs, with 11 consecutive wins in all competitions either side of Serie A's January break. A 16-match unbeaten run extends into November, during which they have conceded one (ONE) goal. Their early-season struggles threatened to turn Serie A into an exhilarating four or five horse race for the Scudetto, but the Old Lady and Napoli have pulled clear of the rest. Juventus mostly play with a back four now, and have tightened up considerably. Gonzalo Higuain looked rotund in the season's early weeks but is in fine fettle with six goals in his last four. Paulo Dybala remains an injury doubt despite returning to light training, and Juventus could be also be without summer signings Douglas Costa and Blaise Matuidi. Federico Bernardeschi has deputised ably for Dybala, while old warhorse Claudio Marchisio will take Matuidi's place. They did no significant business in January. Tottenham vs Arsenal player ratings The last three months have been overwhelmingly positive for Spurs. They are still in the FA Cup and cemented their place in the Champions League places by taking seven points from games against Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool in the last month. January signing Lucas Moura is not cup-tied, and although Toby Alderweireld is set to be left at home, Mauricio Pochettino has a full compliment to choose from. Verdict:Both sides are in fantastic form, though Juventus carry more injury concerns. That said, the timing of Tottenham's trip to Italy after three high-intensity league games could prove a handicap. FC Basel vs Manchester City The Swiss championship resumed on February 3rd after a lengthy winter break, meaning Basel have only played three competitive matches since the draw pitted them against champions elect Man City. The mid-winter interval halted Basel's momentum, who were on an eight-match winning streak that included a 1-0 win over Man Utd. The January transfer window may have weakened them too, with promising defender Manuel Akanji moving to Borussia Dortmund for £19 million. The Swiss club re-signed a couple of familiar faces with Champions League experience - Fabian Frei and forward Valentin Stocker. Man City have continued their relentless march to the title, and possibly Premier League history. There are no doubts over form and morale, but their squad has been depleted by a series of medium-term injuries. Will anyone stop Man City? Credit: PA Pep Guardiola has been without Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus, while David Silva has been intermittently absent for family reasons. Benjamin Mendy and Fabian Delph are also on the sidelines, so 21-year-old Oleksandr Zinchenko is likely to fill-in at left back. City failed in a deadline day move for Riyad Mahrez after pulling out of the race for Alexis Sanchez. Verdict:Man City were heavy favourites when the draw was made, and remain so. Injuries might cost them against stronger opponents, but they should negotiate this tie. The winter break makes Basel something of an unknown quantity - will they be fresh and energetic, or rusty and short of City's intensity? Porto vs Liverpool Remarkably, Porto are only two points clear of Benfica in the Portuguese League despite not losing a league match all season. Sporting Lisbon knocked them out of the League Cup on penalties, but Porto have seven points from nine since the resumption of league football. Felipe will serve a one-match suspension against Liverpool while centre forward Vincent Aboubakar is also an injury doubt. Liverpool lose Philippe Coutinho from their Champions League squad, but do gain January signing Virgil van Dijk who brings the added advantage of not being cup-tied. Liverpool's form since the draw has been strong, with a surprise defeat away at Swansea and cup exit to West Brom the only blots on the copy book. Jurgen Klopp has no significant injury concerns, and should be able to field a Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah as a front three. Verdict: The balance of the tie has not changed much since the draw. It's a presentable chance for Liverpool to reach the last eight, but Porto are historically strong at the Estadio do Dragao. Real Madrid vs Paris Saint-Germain The tie of the round, and the odds have shifted significantly in PSG's favour since the draw. The Champions League is Zinedine Zidane's only chance to make this season a success, with Real Madrid 17 points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona. Zidane galvanised a group of player's disillusioned by Rafael Benitez's methods, the Frenchman is not at the vanguard of tactical innovation. The holders have won just three of their last seven league games, with Cristiano Ronaldo badly out of sorts and goalscoring form. Right-back Dani Carvajal is suspended for the first leg. Paris Saint-Germain could win their first Champions League Credit: AFP PSG on the other hand, are cruising in Ligue 1 with a defeat at Lyon the one hiccup in an otherwise exemplary run of seven league wins in eight since the draw. Kylian Mbappe gave Unai Emery an injury scare but has returned in good time, and although Neymar was pictured with ice on both ankles on Sunday their marquee signing should be available. Verdict: They have won the tournament three times in the past four seasons, but it would be a surprise if Real Madrid progressed. PSG look the pacier, more inventive attacking force and all is not well at the Bernabeu. Sevilla vs Manchester United Sevilla made the startling decision to sack manager Eduardo Berizzo in December, days after he had returned from prostate cancer surgery. His parting gift to the club was a place in the last-16, and Vincenzo Montella will be in the dug-out to face Man Utd. The Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium created a raucous atmosphere, but they have won only two of eight league matches since the draw. Premier League mis-fits Sandro Ramirez and Roque Mesa joined on loan in January, along with Corinthians full-back Guilherme Arana. Simon Kjaer has missed the last eight games with a back injury, but Steven N'Zonzi has been reintegrated under Montella. Man Utd may have 'won the transfer window' with the arrival of Alexis Sanchez, but their performances over the past few months have been far from convincing. Jose Mourinho seems reluctant to leave out one of his big-name forwards, and their 4-2-3-1 system has left a sub-standard back four exposed against good sides. Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? The former Chelsea manager has a fantastic record in European knock-out football, but might have to rediscover his pragmatic edge to ensure United come back from Spain unscathed. Defensive injuries to Marcos Rojo and particularly Eric Bailly have been debilitating. Verdict: United have even more attacking quality and talent thanks to the purchase of Sanchez, but their back four looks vulnerable for an away game in Europe. You would just about fancy Mourinho to come up with a system to protect them however, and Sevilla are not the team they were under Emery. Chelsea vs Barcelona Two old rivals meet again, and it could be Antonio Conte's last chance to save his job. The Chelsea's managers blue on blue combat with the club's hierarchy lingered through January, and there looked to be open mutiny in the dressing room after 3-0 and 4-1 defeats against Bournemouth and Watford. A back-up striker for Alvaro Morata arrived in Olivier Giroud but public disagreements over transfer policy continued. The Spaniard continues to struggle with a back injury, while Conte has also sidelined last season's defensive stalwart David Luiz. Confidence is fragile, especially for Tiemoue Bakayoko who looks a shell of the player he was at Monaco. Contenders to replace Conte at Chelsea Barcelona have been functional rather than spectacular in recent weeks, scoring only six goals in their last five in all competitions, but are over the hill and far away in the league. Summer signing Ousmane Dembele returned to the bench against Getafe after a serious thigh injury, while Luis Suarez has re-discovered his goalscoring touch since Christmas. Coutinho is cup-tied having played for Liverpool in the group stages. Verdict: Chelsea were much-fancied when the draw was made, but they look ripe for a pasting unless they can pull a performance out of the fire. Barcelona have been in second gear for a while, and might be saving themselves for the trip to Stamford Bridge. Shakhtar Donetsk vs Roma Shakhtar will have played just one competitive match between December's draw at the visit of Roma, but have played a series of friendlies in an effort to stay sharp. The big positive for Shakhtar over the winter was keeping central midfielder Fred, though Man City are expected to return for the Brazilian in the summer. The positivity around Roma in the season's early months has dissipated since the draw, with Eusebio Di Francesco's team winning only three of their last 10 in all competitions. Defensive midfielder Maxime Gonalons will likely miss out with a calf injury, but the Serie A club did manager to keep Edin Dzeko despite interest from Chelsea. Left-back Emerson Palmieri did get his move to Stamford Bridge, however. Verdict: What kind of shape will Shakhtar be in after a long winter break? The balance of this tie has not really changed, but the Ukranian side showed against Man City what a dynamic side they are. Fred in action against Man City Credit: Reuters Bayern Munich vs Besiktas Under the guidance of Juup Heynckes, Bayern are on a 14-game winning run in all competitions. Their dominance at home has sometimes left previous Bayern teams short on high-intensity match practice, but that should not prove too problematic against Besiktas. The inimitable Manuel Neuer is a long-term absentee, and while they are heavily reliant on Robert Lewandowski, Sandro Wagner did arrive from Hoffenheim in January to share the load. Besiktas surprised many by progressing through a group containing RB Leipzig and Monaco, but lost their centre forward Cenk Tosun to Everton in the January window. Just three points separate the top four in the Turkish league - possibly Europe's most exciting title race - and Besiktas are in touch after three wins in four. Verdict: Bayern are heavy favourites, and Tosun's departure only strengthens that.
Champions League football returns on Tuesday, three months and one day after the last-16 draw in Nyon, Switzerland. The interlude between group and knockout stages contained winter breaks, a transfer window, managerial dismissals, fluctuations in form and injuries to key players. So who has emerged from European hibernation in the best shape, and who has seen their chances diminish amid a winter of discontent? For the first time in the competition&#39;s history, there are five Premier League teams left in the competition at this stage with Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City first up this week. The complexion of the draw can change significantly after Christmas, so where do we stand? Juventus vs Tottenham Hotspur The defence that never concedes against the striker who always scores. Juventus have been impeccable since they were drawn against Spurs, with 11 consecutive wins in all competitions either side of Serie A&#39;s January break. A 16-match unbeaten run extends into November, during which they have conceded one (ONE) goal. Their early-season struggles threatened to turn Serie A into an exhilarating four or five horse race for the Scudetto, but the Old Lady and Napoli have pulled clear of the rest. Juventus mostly play with a back four now, and have tightened up considerably. Gonzalo Higuain looked rotund in the season&#39;s early weeks but is in fine fettle with six goals in his last four. Paulo Dybala remains an injury doubt despite returning to light training, and Juventus could be also be without summer signings Douglas Costa and Blaise Matuidi. Federico Bernardeschi has deputised ably for Dybala, while old warhorse Claudio Marchisio will take Matuidi&#39;s place. They did no significant business in January. Tottenham vs Arsenal player ratings The last three months have been overwhelmingly positive for Spurs. They are still in the FA Cup and cemented their place in the Champions League places by taking seven points from games against Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool in the last month. January signing Lucas Moura is not cup-tied, and although Toby Alderweireld is set to be left at home, Mauricio Pochettino has a full compliment to choose from. Verdict:Both sides are in fantastic form, though Juventus carry more injury concerns. That said, the timing of Tottenham&#39;s trip to Italy after three high-intensity league games could prove a handicap. FC Basel vs Manchester City The Swiss championship resumed on February 3rd after a lengthy winter break, meaning Basel have only played three competitive matches since the draw pitted them against champions elect Man City. The mid-winter interval halted Basel&#39;s momentum, who were on an eight-match winning streak that included a 1-0 win over Man Utd. The January transfer window may have weakened them too, with promising defender Manuel Akanji moving to Borussia Dortmund for £19 million. The Swiss club re-signed a couple of familiar faces with Champions League experience - Fabian Frei and forward Valentin Stocker. Man City have continued their relentless march to the title, and possibly Premier League history. There are no doubts over form and morale, but their squad has been depleted by a series of medium-term injuries. Will anyone stop Man City? Credit: PA Pep Guardiola has been without Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus, while David Silva has been intermittently absent for family reasons. Benjamin Mendy and Fabian Delph are also on the sidelines, so 21-year-old Oleksandr Zinchenko is likely to fill-in at left back. City failed in a deadline day move for Riyad Mahrez after pulling out of the race for Alexis Sanchez. Verdict:Man City were heavy favourites when the draw was made, and remain so. Injuries might cost them against stronger opponents, but they should negotiate this tie. The winter break makes Basel something of an unknown quantity - will they be fresh and energetic, or rusty and short of City&#39;s intensity? Porto vs Liverpool Remarkably, Porto are only two points clear of Benfica in the Portuguese League despite not losing a league match all season. Sporting Lisbon knocked them out of the League Cup on penalties, but Porto have seven points from nine since the resumption of league football. Felipe will serve a one-match suspension against Liverpool while centre forward Vincent Aboubakar is also an injury doubt. Liverpool lose Philippe Coutinho from their Champions League squad, but do gain January signing Virgil van Dijk who brings the added advantage of not being cup-tied. Liverpool&#39;s form since the draw has been strong, with a surprise defeat away at Swansea and cup exit to West Brom the only blots on the copy book. Jurgen Klopp has no significant injury concerns, and should be able to field a Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah as a front three. Verdict: The balance of the tie has not changed much since the draw. It&#39;s a presentable chance for Liverpool to reach the last eight, but Porto are historically strong at the Estadio do Dragao. Real Madrid vs Paris Saint-Germain The tie of the round, and the odds have shifted significantly in PSG&#39;s favour since the draw. The Champions League is Zinedine Zidane&#39;s only chance to make this season a success, with Real Madrid 17 points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona. Zidane galvanised a group of player&#39;s disillusioned by Rafael Benitez&#39;s methods, the Frenchman is not at the vanguard of tactical innovation. The holders have won just three of their last seven league games, with Cristiano Ronaldo badly out of sorts and goalscoring form. Right-back Dani Carvajal is suspended for the first leg. Paris Saint-Germain could win their first Champions League Credit: AFP PSG on the other hand, are cruising in Ligue 1 with a defeat at Lyon the one hiccup in an otherwise exemplary run of seven league wins in eight since the draw. Kylian Mbappe gave Unai Emery an injury scare but has returned in good time, and although Neymar was pictured with ice on both ankles on Sunday their marquee signing should be available. Verdict: They have won the tournament three times in the past four seasons, but it would be a surprise if Real Madrid progressed. PSG look the pacier, more inventive attacking force and all is not well at the Bernabeu. Sevilla vs Manchester United Sevilla made the startling decision to sack manager Eduardo Berizzo in December, days after he had returned from prostate cancer surgery. His parting gift to the club was a place in the last-16, and Vincenzo Montella will be in the dug-out to face Man Utd. The Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium created a raucous atmosphere, but they have won only two of eight league matches since the draw. Premier League mis-fits Sandro Ramirez and Roque Mesa joined on loan in January, along with Corinthians full-back Guilherme Arana. Simon Kjaer has missed the last eight games with a back injury, but Steven N&#39;Zonzi has been reintegrated under Montella. Man Utd may have &#39;won the transfer window&#39; with the arrival of Alexis Sanchez, but their performances over the past few months have been far from convincing. Jose Mourinho seems reluctant to leave out one of his big-name forwards, and their 4-2-3-1 system has left a sub-standard back four exposed against good sides. Why can&#39;t Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? The former Chelsea manager has a fantastic record in European knock-out football, but might have to rediscover his pragmatic edge to ensure United come back from Spain unscathed. Defensive injuries to Marcos Rojo and particularly Eric Bailly have been debilitating. Verdict: United have even more attacking quality and talent thanks to the purchase of Sanchez, but their back four looks vulnerable for an away game in Europe. You would just about fancy Mourinho to come up with a system to protect them however, and Sevilla are not the team they were under Emery. Chelsea vs Barcelona Two old rivals meet again, and it could be Antonio Conte&#39;s last chance to save his job. The Chelsea&#39;s managers blue on blue combat with the club&#39;s hierarchy lingered through January, and there looked to be open mutiny in the dressing room after 3-0 and 4-1 defeats against Bournemouth and Watford. A back-up striker for Alvaro Morata arrived in Olivier Giroud but public disagreements over transfer policy continued. The Spaniard continues to struggle with a back injury, while Conte has also sidelined last season&#39;s defensive stalwart David Luiz. Confidence is fragile, especially for Tiemoue Bakayoko who looks a shell of the player he was at Monaco. Contenders to replace Conte at Chelsea Barcelona have been functional rather than spectacular in recent weeks, scoring only six goals in their last five in all competitions, but are over the hill and far away in the league. Summer signing Ousmane Dembele returned to the bench against Getafe after a serious thigh injury, while Luis Suarez has re-discovered his goalscoring touch since Christmas. Coutinho is cup-tied having played for Liverpool in the group stages. Verdict: Chelsea were much-fancied when the draw was made, but they look ripe for a pasting unless they can pull a performance out of the fire. Barcelona have been in second gear for a while, and might be saving themselves for the trip to Stamford Bridge. Shakhtar Donetsk vs Roma Shakhtar will have played just one competitive match between December&#39;s draw at the visit of Roma, but have played a series of friendlies in an effort to stay sharp. The big positive for Shakhtar over the winter was keeping central midfielder Fred, though Man City are expected to return for the Brazilian in the summer. The positivity around Roma in the season&#39;s early months has dissipated since the draw, with Eusebio Di Francesco&#39;s team winning only three of their last 10 in all competitions. Defensive midfielder Maxime Gonalons will likely miss out with a calf injury, but the Serie A club did manager to keep Edin Dzeko despite interest from Chelsea. Left-back Emerson Palmieri did get his move to Stamford Bridge, however. Verdict: What kind of shape will Shakhtar be in after a long winter break? The balance of this tie has not really changed, but the Ukranian side showed against Man City what a dynamic side they are. Fred in action against Man City Credit: Reuters Bayern Munich vs Besiktas Under the guidance of Juup Heynckes, Bayern are on a 14-game winning run in all competitions. Their dominance at home has sometimes left previous Bayern teams short on high-intensity match practice, but that should not prove too problematic against Besiktas. The inimitable Manuel Neuer is a long-term absentee, and while they are heavily reliant on Robert Lewandowski, Sandro Wagner did arrive from Hoffenheim in January to share the load. Besiktas surprised many by progressing through a group containing RB Leipzig and Monaco, but lost their centre forward Cenk Tosun to Everton in the January window. Just three points separate the top four in the Turkish league - possibly Europe&#39;s most exciting title race - and Besiktas are in touch after three wins in four. Verdict: Bayern are heavy favourites, and Tosun&#39;s departure only strengthens that.
How has the balance of each Champions League tie changed since the draw?
Champions League football returns on Tuesday, three months and one day after the last-16 draw in Nyon, Switzerland. The interlude between group and knockout stages contained winter breaks, a transfer window, managerial dismissals, fluctuations in form and injuries to key players. So who has emerged from European hibernation in the best shape, and who has seen their chances diminish amid a winter of discontent? For the first time in the competition's history, there are five Premier League teams left in the competition at this stage with Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City first up this week. The complexion of the draw can change significantly after Christmas, so where do we stand? Juventus vs Tottenham Hotspur The defence that never concedes against the striker who always scores. Juventus have been impeccable since they were drawn against Spurs, with 11 consecutive wins in all competitions either side of Serie A's January break. A 16-match unbeaten run extends into November, during which they have conceded one (ONE) goal. Their early-season struggles threatened to turn Serie A into an exhilarating four or five horse race for the Scudetto, but the Old Lady and Napoli have pulled clear of the rest. Juventus mostly play with a back four now, and have tightened up considerably. Gonzalo Higuain looked rotund in the season's early weeks but is in fine fettle with six goals in his last four. Paulo Dybala remains an injury doubt despite returning to light training, and Juventus could be also be without summer signings Douglas Costa and Blaise Matuidi. Federico Bernardeschi has deputised ably for Dybala, while old warhorse Claudio Marchisio will take Matuidi's place. They did no significant business in January. Tottenham vs Arsenal player ratings The last three months have been overwhelmingly positive for Spurs. They are still in the FA Cup and cemented their place in the Champions League places by taking seven points from games against Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool in the last month. January signing Lucas Moura is not cup-tied, and although Toby Alderweireld is set to be left at home, Mauricio Pochettino has a full compliment to choose from. Verdict:Both sides are in fantastic form, though Juventus carry more injury concerns. That said, the timing of Tottenham's trip to Italy after three high-intensity league games could prove a handicap. FC Basel vs Manchester City The Swiss championship resumed on February 3rd after a lengthy winter break, meaning Basel have only played three competitive matches since the draw pitted them against champions elect Man City. The mid-winter interval halted Basel's momentum, who were on an eight-match winning streak that included a 1-0 win over Man Utd. The January transfer window may have weakened them too, with promising defender Manuel Akanji moving to Borussia Dortmund for £19 million. The Swiss club re-signed a couple of familiar faces with Champions League experience - Fabian Frei and forward Valentin Stocker. Man City have continued their relentless march to the title, and possibly Premier League history. There are no doubts over form and morale, but their squad has been depleted by a series of medium-term injuries. Will anyone stop Man City? Credit: PA Pep Guardiola has been without Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus, while David Silva has been intermittently absent for family reasons. Benjamin Mendy and Fabian Delph are also on the sidelines, so 21-year-old Oleksandr Zinchenko is likely to fill-in at left back. City failed in a deadline day move for Riyad Mahrez after pulling out of the race for Alexis Sanchez. Verdict:Man City were heavy favourites when the draw was made, and remain so. Injuries might cost them against stronger opponents, but they should negotiate this tie. The winter break makes Basel something of an unknown quantity - will they be fresh and energetic, or rusty and short of City's intensity? Porto vs Liverpool Remarkably, Porto are only two points clear of Benfica in the Portuguese League despite not losing a league match all season. Sporting Lisbon knocked them out of the League Cup on penalties, but Porto have seven points from nine since the resumption of league football. Felipe will serve a one-match suspension against Liverpool while centre forward Vincent Aboubakar is also an injury doubt. Liverpool lose Philippe Coutinho from their Champions League squad, but do gain January signing Virgil van Dijk who brings the added advantage of not being cup-tied. Liverpool's form since the draw has been strong, with a surprise defeat away at Swansea and cup exit to West Brom the only blots on the copy book. Jurgen Klopp has no significant injury concerns, and should be able to field a Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah as a front three. Verdict: The balance of the tie has not changed much since the draw. It's a presentable chance for Liverpool to reach the last eight, but Porto are historically strong at the Estadio do Dragao. Real Madrid vs Paris Saint-Germain The tie of the round, and the odds have shifted significantly in PSG's favour since the draw. The Champions League is Zinedine Zidane's only chance to make this season a success, with Real Madrid 17 points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona. Zidane galvanised a group of player's disillusioned by Rafael Benitez's methods, the Frenchman is not at the vanguard of tactical innovation. The holders have won just three of their last seven league games, with Cristiano Ronaldo badly out of sorts and goalscoring form. Right-back Dani Carvajal is suspended for the first leg. Paris Saint-Germain could win their first Champions League Credit: AFP PSG on the other hand, are cruising in Ligue 1 with a defeat at Lyon the one hiccup in an otherwise exemplary run of seven league wins in eight since the draw. Kylian Mbappe gave Unai Emery an injury scare but has returned in good time, and although Neymar was pictured with ice on both ankles on Sunday their marquee signing should be available. Verdict: They have won the tournament three times in the past four seasons, but it would be a surprise if Real Madrid progressed. PSG look the pacier, more inventive attacking force and all is not well at the Bernabeu. Sevilla vs Manchester United Sevilla made the startling decision to sack manager Eduardo Berizzo in December, days after he had returned from prostate cancer surgery. His parting gift to the club was a place in the last-16, and Vincenzo Montella will be in the dug-out to face Man Utd. The Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium created a raucous atmosphere, but they have won only two of eight league matches since the draw. Premier League mis-fits Sandro Ramirez and Roque Mesa joined on loan in January, along with Corinthians full-back Guilherme Arana. Simon Kjaer has missed the last eight games with a back injury, but Steven N'Zonzi has been reintegrated under Montella. Man Utd may have 'won the transfer window' with the arrival of Alexis Sanchez, but their performances over the past few months have been far from convincing. Jose Mourinho seems reluctant to leave out one of his big-name forwards, and their 4-2-3-1 system has left a sub-standard back four exposed against good sides. Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? The former Chelsea manager has a fantastic record in European knock-out football, but might have to rediscover his pragmatic edge to ensure United come back from Spain unscathed. Defensive injuries to Marcos Rojo and particularly Eric Bailly have been debilitating. Verdict: United have even more attacking quality and talent thanks to the purchase of Sanchez, but their back four looks vulnerable for an away game in Europe. You would just about fancy Mourinho to come up with a system to protect them however, and Sevilla are not the team they were under Emery. Chelsea vs Barcelona Two old rivals meet again, and it could be Antonio Conte's last chance to save his job. The Chelsea's managers blue on blue combat with the club's hierarchy lingered through January, and there looked to be open mutiny in the dressing room after 3-0 and 4-1 defeats against Bournemouth and Watford. A back-up striker for Alvaro Morata arrived in Olivier Giroud but public disagreements over transfer policy continued. The Spaniard continues to struggle with a back injury, while Conte has also sidelined last season's defensive stalwart David Luiz. Confidence is fragile, especially for Tiemoue Bakayoko who looks a shell of the player he was at Monaco. Contenders to replace Conte at Chelsea Barcelona have been functional rather than spectacular in recent weeks, scoring only six goals in their last five in all competitions, but are over the hill and far away in the league. Summer signing Ousmane Dembele returned to the bench against Getafe after a serious thigh injury, while Luis Suarez has re-discovered his goalscoring touch since Christmas. Coutinho is cup-tied having played for Liverpool in the group stages. Verdict: Chelsea were much-fancied when the draw was made, but they look ripe for a pasting unless they can pull a performance out of the fire. Barcelona have been in second gear for a while, and might be saving themselves for the trip to Stamford Bridge. Shakhtar Donetsk vs Roma Shakhtar will have played just one competitive match between December's draw at the visit of Roma, but have played a series of friendlies in an effort to stay sharp. The big positive for Shakhtar over the winter was keeping central midfielder Fred, though Man City are expected to return for the Brazilian in the summer. The positivity around Roma in the season's early months has dissipated since the draw, with Eusebio Di Francesco's team winning only three of their last 10 in all competitions. Defensive midfielder Maxime Gonalons will likely miss out with a calf injury, but the Serie A club did manager to keep Edin Dzeko despite interest from Chelsea. Left-back Emerson Palmieri did get his move to Stamford Bridge, however. Verdict: What kind of shape will Shakhtar be in after a long winter break? The balance of this tie has not really changed, but the Ukranian side showed against Man City what a dynamic side they are. Fred in action against Man City Credit: Reuters Bayern Munich vs Besiktas Under the guidance of Juup Heynckes, Bayern are on a 14-game winning run in all competitions. Their dominance at home has sometimes left previous Bayern teams short on high-intensity match practice, but that should not prove too problematic against Besiktas. The inimitable Manuel Neuer is a long-term absentee, and while they are heavily reliant on Robert Lewandowski, Sandro Wagner did arrive from Hoffenheim in January to share the load. Besiktas surprised many by progressing through a group containing RB Leipzig and Monaco, but lost their centre forward Cenk Tosun to Everton in the January window. Just three points separate the top four in the Turkish league - possibly Europe's most exciting title race - and Besiktas are in touch after three wins in four. Verdict: Bayern are heavy favourites, and Tosun's departure only strengthens that.
Champions League football returns on Tuesday, three months and one day after the last-16 draw in Nyon, Switzerland. The interlude between group and knockout stages contained winter breaks, a transfer window, managerial dismissals, fluctuations in form and injuries to key players. So who has emerged from European hibernation in the best shape, and who has seen their chances diminish amid a winter of discontent? For the first time in the competition&#39;s history, there are five Premier League teams left in the competition at this stage with Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City first up this week. The complexion of the draw can change significantly after Christmas, so where do we stand? Juventus vs Tottenham Hotspur The defence that never concedes against the striker who always scores. Juventus have been impeccable since they were drawn against Spurs, with 11 consecutive wins in all competitions either side of Serie A&#39;s January break. A 16-match unbeaten run extends into November, during which they have conceded one (ONE) goal. Their early-season struggles threatened to turn Serie A into an exhilarating four or five horse race for the Scudetto, but the Old Lady and Napoli have pulled clear of the rest. Juventus mostly play with a back four now, and have tightened up considerably. Gonzalo Higuain looked rotund in the season&#39;s early weeks but is in fine fettle with six goals in his last four. Paulo Dybala remains an injury doubt despite returning to light training, and Juventus could be also be without summer signings Douglas Costa and Blaise Matuidi. Federico Bernardeschi has deputised ably for Dybala, while old warhorse Claudio Marchisio will take Matuidi&#39;s place. They did no significant business in January. Tottenham vs Arsenal player ratings The last three months have been overwhelmingly positive for Spurs. They are still in the FA Cup and cemented their place in the Champions League places by taking seven points from games against Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool in the last month. January signing Lucas Moura is not cup-tied, and although Toby Alderweireld is set to be left at home, Mauricio Pochettino has a full compliment to choose from. Verdict:Both sides are in fantastic form, though Juventus carry more injury concerns. That said, the timing of Tottenham&#39;s trip to Italy after three high-intensity league games could prove a handicap. FC Basel vs Manchester City The Swiss championship resumed on February 3rd after a lengthy winter break, meaning Basel have only played three competitive matches since the draw pitted them against champions elect Man City. The mid-winter interval halted Basel&#39;s momentum, who were on an eight-match winning streak that included a 1-0 win over Man Utd. The January transfer window may have weakened them too, with promising defender Manuel Akanji moving to Borussia Dortmund for £19 million. The Swiss club re-signed a couple of familiar faces with Champions League experience - Fabian Frei and forward Valentin Stocker. Man City have continued their relentless march to the title, and possibly Premier League history. There are no doubts over form and morale, but their squad has been depleted by a series of medium-term injuries. Will anyone stop Man City? Credit: PA Pep Guardiola has been without Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus, while David Silva has been intermittently absent for family reasons. Benjamin Mendy and Fabian Delph are also on the sidelines, so 21-year-old Oleksandr Zinchenko is likely to fill-in at left back. City failed in a deadline day move for Riyad Mahrez after pulling out of the race for Alexis Sanchez. Verdict:Man City were heavy favourites when the draw was made, and remain so. Injuries might cost them against stronger opponents, but they should negotiate this tie. The winter break makes Basel something of an unknown quantity - will they be fresh and energetic, or rusty and short of City&#39;s intensity? Porto vs Liverpool Remarkably, Porto are only two points clear of Benfica in the Portuguese League despite not losing a league match all season. Sporting Lisbon knocked them out of the League Cup on penalties, but Porto have seven points from nine since the resumption of league football. Felipe will serve a one-match suspension against Liverpool while centre forward Vincent Aboubakar is also an injury doubt. Liverpool lose Philippe Coutinho from their Champions League squad, but do gain January signing Virgil van Dijk who brings the added advantage of not being cup-tied. Liverpool&#39;s form since the draw has been strong, with a surprise defeat away at Swansea and cup exit to West Brom the only blots on the copy book. Jurgen Klopp has no significant injury concerns, and should be able to field a Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah as a front three. Verdict: The balance of the tie has not changed much since the draw. It&#39;s a presentable chance for Liverpool to reach the last eight, but Porto are historically strong at the Estadio do Dragao. Real Madrid vs Paris Saint-Germain The tie of the round, and the odds have shifted significantly in PSG&#39;s favour since the draw. The Champions League is Zinedine Zidane&#39;s only chance to make this season a success, with Real Madrid 17 points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona. Zidane galvanised a group of player&#39;s disillusioned by Rafael Benitez&#39;s methods, the Frenchman is not at the vanguard of tactical innovation. The holders have won just three of their last seven league games, with Cristiano Ronaldo badly out of sorts and goalscoring form. Right-back Dani Carvajal is suspended for the first leg. Paris Saint-Germain could win their first Champions League Credit: AFP PSG on the other hand, are cruising in Ligue 1 with a defeat at Lyon the one hiccup in an otherwise exemplary run of seven league wins in eight since the draw. Kylian Mbappe gave Unai Emery an injury scare but has returned in good time, and although Neymar was pictured with ice on both ankles on Sunday their marquee signing should be available. Verdict: They have won the tournament three times in the past four seasons, but it would be a surprise if Real Madrid progressed. PSG look the pacier, more inventive attacking force and all is not well at the Bernabeu. Sevilla vs Manchester United Sevilla made the startling decision to sack manager Eduardo Berizzo in December, days after he had returned from prostate cancer surgery. His parting gift to the club was a place in the last-16, and Vincenzo Montella will be in the dug-out to face Man Utd. The Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium created a raucous atmosphere, but they have won only two of eight league matches since the draw. Premier League mis-fits Sandro Ramirez and Roque Mesa joined on loan in January, along with Corinthians full-back Guilherme Arana. Simon Kjaer has missed the last eight games with a back injury, but Steven N&#39;Zonzi has been reintegrated under Montella. Man Utd may have &#39;won the transfer window&#39; with the arrival of Alexis Sanchez, but their performances over the past few months have been far from convincing. Jose Mourinho seems reluctant to leave out one of his big-name forwards, and their 4-2-3-1 system has left a sub-standard back four exposed against good sides. Why can&#39;t Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? The former Chelsea manager has a fantastic record in European knock-out football, but might have to rediscover his pragmatic edge to ensure United come back from Spain unscathed. Defensive injuries to Marcos Rojo and particularly Eric Bailly have been debilitating. Verdict: United have even more attacking quality and talent thanks to the purchase of Sanchez, but their back four looks vulnerable for an away game in Europe. You would just about fancy Mourinho to come up with a system to protect them however, and Sevilla are not the team they were under Emery. Chelsea vs Barcelona Two old rivals meet again, and it could be Antonio Conte&#39;s last chance to save his job. The Chelsea&#39;s managers blue on blue combat with the club&#39;s hierarchy lingered through January, and there looked to be open mutiny in the dressing room after 3-0 and 4-1 defeats against Bournemouth and Watford. A back-up striker for Alvaro Morata arrived in Olivier Giroud but public disagreements over transfer policy continued. The Spaniard continues to struggle with a back injury, while Conte has also sidelined last season&#39;s defensive stalwart David Luiz. Confidence is fragile, especially for Tiemoue Bakayoko who looks a shell of the player he was at Monaco. Contenders to replace Conte at Chelsea Barcelona have been functional rather than spectacular in recent weeks, scoring only six goals in their last five in all competitions, but are over the hill and far away in the league. Summer signing Ousmane Dembele returned to the bench against Getafe after a serious thigh injury, while Luis Suarez has re-discovered his goalscoring touch since Christmas. Coutinho is cup-tied having played for Liverpool in the group stages. Verdict: Chelsea were much-fancied when the draw was made, but they look ripe for a pasting unless they can pull a performance out of the fire. Barcelona have been in second gear for a while, and might be saving themselves for the trip to Stamford Bridge. Shakhtar Donetsk vs Roma Shakhtar will have played just one competitive match between December&#39;s draw at the visit of Roma, but have played a series of friendlies in an effort to stay sharp. The big positive for Shakhtar over the winter was keeping central midfielder Fred, though Man City are expected to return for the Brazilian in the summer. The positivity around Roma in the season&#39;s early months has dissipated since the draw, with Eusebio Di Francesco&#39;s team winning only three of their last 10 in all competitions. Defensive midfielder Maxime Gonalons will likely miss out with a calf injury, but the Serie A club did manager to keep Edin Dzeko despite interest from Chelsea. Left-back Emerson Palmieri did get his move to Stamford Bridge, however. Verdict: What kind of shape will Shakhtar be in after a long winter break? The balance of this tie has not really changed, but the Ukranian side showed against Man City what a dynamic side they are. Fred in action against Man City Credit: Reuters Bayern Munich vs Besiktas Under the guidance of Juup Heynckes, Bayern are on a 14-game winning run in all competitions. Their dominance at home has sometimes left previous Bayern teams short on high-intensity match practice, but that should not prove too problematic against Besiktas. The inimitable Manuel Neuer is a long-term absentee, and while they are heavily reliant on Robert Lewandowski, Sandro Wagner did arrive from Hoffenheim in January to share the load. Besiktas surprised many by progressing through a group containing RB Leipzig and Monaco, but lost their centre forward Cenk Tosun to Everton in the January window. Just three points separate the top four in the Turkish league - possibly Europe&#39;s most exciting title race - and Besiktas are in touch after three wins in four. Verdict: Bayern are heavy favourites, and Tosun&#39;s departure only strengthens that.
How has the balance of each Champions League tie changed since the draw?
Champions League football returns on Tuesday, three months and one day after the last-16 draw in Nyon, Switzerland. The interlude between group and knockout stages contained winter breaks, a transfer window, managerial dismissals, fluctuations in form and injuries to key players. So who has emerged from European hibernation in the best shape, and who has seen their chances diminish amid a winter of discontent? For the first time in the competition's history, there are five Premier League teams left in the competition at this stage with Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City first up this week. The complexion of the draw can change significantly after Christmas, so where do we stand? Juventus vs Tottenham Hotspur The defence that never concedes against the striker who always scores. Juventus have been impeccable since they were drawn against Spurs, with 11 consecutive wins in all competitions either side of Serie A's January break. A 16-match unbeaten run extends into November, during which they have conceded one (ONE) goal. Their early-season struggles threatened to turn Serie A into an exhilarating four or five horse race for the Scudetto, but the Old Lady and Napoli have pulled clear of the rest. Juventus mostly play with a back four now, and have tightened up considerably. Gonzalo Higuain looked rotund in the season's early weeks but is in fine fettle with six goals in his last four. Paulo Dybala remains an injury doubt despite returning to light training, and Juventus could be also be without summer signings Douglas Costa and Blaise Matuidi. Federico Bernardeschi has deputised ably for Dybala, while old warhorse Claudio Marchisio will take Matuidi's place. They did no significant business in January. Tottenham vs Arsenal player ratings The last three months have been overwhelmingly positive for Spurs. They are still in the FA Cup and cemented their place in the Champions League places by taking seven points from games against Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool in the last month. January signing Lucas Moura is not cup-tied, and although Toby Alderweireld is set to be left at home, Mauricio Pochettino has a full compliment to choose from. Verdict:Both sides are in fantastic form, though Juventus carry more injury concerns. That said, the timing of Tottenham's trip to Italy after three high-intensity league games could prove a handicap. FC Basel vs Manchester City The Swiss championship resumed on February 3rd after a lengthy winter break, meaning Basel have only played three competitive matches since the draw pitted them against champions elect Man City. The mid-winter interval halted Basel's momentum, who were on an eight-match winning streak that included a 1-0 win over Man Utd. The January transfer window may have weakened them too, with promising defender Manuel Akanji moving to Borussia Dortmund for £19 million. The Swiss club re-signed a couple of familiar faces with Champions League experience - Fabian Frei and forward Valentin Stocker. Man City have continued their relentless march to the title, and possibly Premier League history. There are no doubts over form and morale, but their squad has been depleted by a series of medium-term injuries. Will anyone stop Man City? Credit: PA Pep Guardiola has been without Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus, while David Silva has been intermittently absent for family reasons. Benjamin Mendy and Fabian Delph are also on the sidelines, so 21-year-old Oleksandr Zinchenko is likely to fill-in at left back. City failed in a deadline day move for Riyad Mahrez after pulling out of the race for Alexis Sanchez. Verdict:Man City were heavy favourites when the draw was made, and remain so. Injuries might cost them against stronger opponents, but they should negotiate this tie. The winter break makes Basel something of an unknown quantity - will they be fresh and energetic, or rusty and short of City's intensity? Porto vs Liverpool Remarkably, Porto are only two points clear of Benfica in the Portuguese League despite not losing a league match all season. Sporting Lisbon knocked them out of the League Cup on penalties, but Porto have seven points from nine since the resumption of league football. Felipe will serve a one-match suspension against Liverpool while centre forward Vincent Aboubakar is also an injury doubt. Liverpool lose Philippe Coutinho from their Champions League squad, but do gain January signing Virgil van Dijk who brings the added advantage of not being cup-tied. Liverpool's form since the draw has been strong, with a surprise defeat away at Swansea and cup exit to West Brom the only blots on the copy book. Jurgen Klopp has no significant injury concerns, and should be able to field a Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah as a front three. Verdict: The balance of the tie has not changed much since the draw. It's a presentable chance for Liverpool to reach the last eight, but Porto are historically strong at the Estadio do Dragao. Real Madrid vs Paris Saint-Germain The tie of the round, and the odds have shifted significantly in PSG's favour since the draw. The Champions League is Zinedine Zidane's only chance to make this season a success, with Real Madrid 17 points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona. Zidane galvanised a group of player's disillusioned by Rafael Benitez's methods, the Frenchman is not at the vanguard of tactical innovation. The holders have won just three of their last seven league games, with Cristiano Ronaldo badly out of sorts and goalscoring form. Right-back Dani Carvajal is suspended for the first leg. Paris Saint-Germain could win their first Champions League Credit: AFP PSG on the other hand, are cruising in Ligue 1 with a defeat at Lyon the one hiccup in an otherwise exemplary run of seven league wins in eight since the draw. Kylian Mbappe gave Unai Emery an injury scare but has returned in good time, and although Neymar was pictured with ice on both ankles on Sunday their marquee signing should be available. Verdict: They have won the tournament three times in the past four seasons, but it would be a surprise if Real Madrid progressed. PSG look the pacier, more inventive attacking force and all is not well at the Bernabeu. Sevilla vs Manchester United Sevilla made the startling decision to sack manager Eduardo Berizzo in December, days after he had returned from prostate cancer surgery. His parting gift to the club was a place in the last-16, and Vincenzo Montella will be in the dug-out to face Man Utd. The Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium created a raucous atmosphere, but they have won only two of eight league matches since the draw. Premier League mis-fits Sandro Ramirez and Roque Mesa joined on loan in January, along with Corinthians full-back Guilherme Arana. Simon Kjaer has missed the last eight games with a back injury, but Steven N'Zonzi has been reintegrated under Montella. Man Utd may have 'won the transfer window' with the arrival of Alexis Sanchez, but their performances over the past few months have been far from convincing. Jose Mourinho seems reluctant to leave out one of his big-name forwards, and their 4-2-3-1 system has left a sub-standard back four exposed against good sides. Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? The former Chelsea manager has a fantastic record in European knock-out football, but might have to rediscover his pragmatic edge to ensure United come back from Spain unscathed. Defensive injuries to Marcos Rojo and particularly Eric Bailly have been debilitating. Verdict: United have even more attacking quality and talent thanks to the purchase of Sanchez, but their back four looks vulnerable for an away game in Europe. You would just about fancy Mourinho to come up with a system to protect them however, and Sevilla are not the team they were under Emery. Chelsea vs Barcelona Two old rivals meet again, and it could be Antonio Conte's last chance to save his job. The Chelsea's managers blue on blue combat with the club's hierarchy lingered through January, and there looked to be open mutiny in the dressing room after 3-0 and 4-1 defeats against Bournemouth and Watford. A back-up striker for Alvaro Morata arrived in Olivier Giroud but public disagreements over transfer policy continued. The Spaniard continues to struggle with a back injury, while Conte has also sidelined last season's defensive stalwart David Luiz. Confidence is fragile, especially for Tiemoue Bakayoko who looks a shell of the player he was at Monaco. Contenders to replace Conte at Chelsea Barcelona have been functional rather than spectacular in recent weeks, scoring only six goals in their last five in all competitions, but are over the hill and far away in the league. Summer signing Ousmane Dembele returned to the bench against Getafe after a serious thigh injury, while Luis Suarez has re-discovered his goalscoring touch since Christmas. Coutinho is cup-tied having played for Liverpool in the group stages. Verdict: Chelsea were much-fancied when the draw was made, but they look ripe for a pasting unless they can pull a performance out of the fire. Barcelona have been in second gear for a while, and might be saving themselves for the trip to Stamford Bridge. Shakhtar Donetsk vs Roma Shakhtar will have played just one competitive match between December's draw at the visit of Roma, but have played a series of friendlies in an effort to stay sharp. The big positive for Shakhtar over the winter was keeping central midfielder Fred, though Man City are expected to return for the Brazilian in the summer. The positivity around Roma in the season's early months has dissipated since the draw, with Eusebio Di Francesco's team winning only three of their last 10 in all competitions. Defensive midfielder Maxime Gonalons will likely miss out with a calf injury, but the Serie A club did manager to keep Edin Dzeko despite interest from Chelsea. Left-back Emerson Palmieri did get his move to Stamford Bridge, however. Verdict: What kind of shape will Shakhtar be in after a long winter break? The balance of this tie has not really changed, but the Ukranian side showed against Man City what a dynamic side they are. Fred in action against Man City Credit: Reuters Bayern Munich vs Besiktas Under the guidance of Juup Heynckes, Bayern are on a 14-game winning run in all competitions. Their dominance at home has sometimes left previous Bayern teams short on high-intensity match practice, but that should not prove too problematic against Besiktas. The inimitable Manuel Neuer is a long-term absentee, and while they are heavily reliant on Robert Lewandowski, Sandro Wagner did arrive from Hoffenheim in January to share the load. Besiktas surprised many by progressing through a group containing RB Leipzig and Monaco, but lost their centre forward Cenk Tosun to Everton in the January window. Just three points separate the top four in the Turkish league - possibly Europe's most exciting title race - and Besiktas are in touch after three wins in four. Verdict: Bayern are heavy favourites, and Tosun's departure only strengthens that.
Champions League football returns on Tuesday, three months and one day after the last-16 draw in Nyon, Switzerland. The interlude between group and knockout stages contained winter breaks, a transfer window, managerial dismissals, fluctuations in form and injuries to key players. So who has emerged from European hibernation in the best shape, and who has seen their chances diminish amid a winter of discontent? For the first time in the competition&#39;s history, there are five Premier League teams left in the competition at this stage with Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City first up this week. The complexion of the draw can change significantly after Christmas, so where do we stand? Juventus vs Tottenham Hotspur The defence that never concedes against the striker who always scores. Juventus have been impeccable since they were drawn against Spurs, with 11 consecutive wins in all competitions either side of Serie A&#39;s January break. A 16-match unbeaten run extends into November, during which they have conceded one (ONE) goal. Their early-season struggles threatened to turn Serie A into an exhilarating four or five horse race for the Scudetto, but the Old Lady and Napoli have pulled clear of the rest. Juventus mostly play with a back four now, and have tightened up considerably. Gonzalo Higuain looked rotund in the season&#39;s early weeks but is in fine fettle with six goals in his last four. Paulo Dybala remains an injury doubt despite returning to light training, and Juventus could be also be without summer signings Douglas Costa and Blaise Matuidi. Federico Bernardeschi has deputised ably for Dybala, while old warhorse Claudio Marchisio will take Matuidi&#39;s place. They did no significant business in January. Tottenham vs Arsenal player ratings The last three months have been overwhelmingly positive for Spurs. They are still in the FA Cup and cemented their place in the Champions League places by taking seven points from games against Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool in the last month. January signing Lucas Moura is not cup-tied, and although Toby Alderweireld is set to be left at home, Mauricio Pochettino has a full compliment to choose from. Verdict:Both sides are in fantastic form, though Juventus carry more injury concerns. That said, the timing of Tottenham&#39;s trip to Italy after three high-intensity league games could prove a handicap. FC Basel vs Manchester City The Swiss championship resumed on February 3rd after a lengthy winter break, meaning Basel have only played three competitive matches since the draw pitted them against champions elect Man City. The mid-winter interval halted Basel&#39;s momentum, who were on an eight-match winning streak that included a 1-0 win over Man Utd. The January transfer window may have weakened them too, with promising defender Manuel Akanji moving to Borussia Dortmund for £19 million. The Swiss club re-signed a couple of familiar faces with Champions League experience - Fabian Frei and forward Valentin Stocker. Man City have continued their relentless march to the title, and possibly Premier League history. There are no doubts over form and morale, but their squad has been depleted by a series of medium-term injuries. Will anyone stop Man City? Credit: PA Pep Guardiola has been without Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus, while David Silva has been intermittently absent for family reasons. Benjamin Mendy and Fabian Delph are also on the sidelines, so 21-year-old Oleksandr Zinchenko is likely to fill-in at left back. City failed in a deadline day move for Riyad Mahrez after pulling out of the race for Alexis Sanchez. Verdict:Man City were heavy favourites when the draw was made, and remain so. Injuries might cost them against stronger opponents, but they should negotiate this tie. The winter break makes Basel something of an unknown quantity - will they be fresh and energetic, or rusty and short of City&#39;s intensity? Porto vs Liverpool Remarkably, Porto are only two points clear of Benfica in the Portuguese League despite not losing a league match all season. Sporting Lisbon knocked them out of the League Cup on penalties, but Porto have seven points from nine since the resumption of league football. Felipe will serve a one-match suspension against Liverpool while centre forward Vincent Aboubakar is also an injury doubt. Liverpool lose Philippe Coutinho from their Champions League squad, but do gain January signing Virgil van Dijk who brings the added advantage of not being cup-tied. Liverpool&#39;s form since the draw has been strong, with a surprise defeat away at Swansea and cup exit to West Brom the only blots on the copy book. Jurgen Klopp has no significant injury concerns, and should be able to field a Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah as a front three. Verdict: The balance of the tie has not changed much since the draw. It&#39;s a presentable chance for Liverpool to reach the last eight, but Porto are historically strong at the Estadio do Dragao. Real Madrid vs Paris Saint-Germain The tie of the round, and the odds have shifted significantly in PSG&#39;s favour since the draw. The Champions League is Zinedine Zidane&#39;s only chance to make this season a success, with Real Madrid 17 points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona. Zidane galvanised a group of player&#39;s disillusioned by Rafael Benitez&#39;s methods, the Frenchman is not at the vanguard of tactical innovation. The holders have won just three of their last seven league games, with Cristiano Ronaldo badly out of sorts and goalscoring form. Right-back Dani Carvajal is suspended for the first leg. Paris Saint-Germain could win their first Champions League Credit: AFP PSG on the other hand, are cruising in Ligue 1 with a defeat at Lyon the one hiccup in an otherwise exemplary run of seven league wins in eight since the draw. Kylian Mbappe gave Unai Emery an injury scare but has returned in good time, and although Neymar was pictured with ice on both ankles on Sunday their marquee signing should be available. Verdict: They have won the tournament three times in the past four seasons, but it would be a surprise if Real Madrid progressed. PSG look the pacier, more inventive attacking force and all is not well at the Bernabeu. Sevilla vs Manchester United Sevilla made the startling decision to sack manager Eduardo Berizzo in December, days after he had returned from prostate cancer surgery. His parting gift to the club was a place in the last-16, and Vincenzo Montella will be in the dug-out to face Man Utd. The Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium created a raucous atmosphere, but they have won only two of eight league matches since the draw. Premier League mis-fits Sandro Ramirez and Roque Mesa joined on loan in January, along with Corinthians full-back Guilherme Arana. Simon Kjaer has missed the last eight games with a back injury, but Steven N&#39;Zonzi has been reintegrated under Montella. Man Utd may have &#39;won the transfer window&#39; with the arrival of Alexis Sanchez, but their performances over the past few months have been far from convincing. Jose Mourinho seems reluctant to leave out one of his big-name forwards, and their 4-2-3-1 system has left a sub-standard back four exposed against good sides. Why can&#39;t Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? The former Chelsea manager has a fantastic record in European knock-out football, but might have to rediscover his pragmatic edge to ensure United come back from Spain unscathed. Defensive injuries to Marcos Rojo and particularly Eric Bailly have been debilitating. Verdict: United have even more attacking quality and talent thanks to the purchase of Sanchez, but their back four looks vulnerable for an away game in Europe. You would just about fancy Mourinho to come up with a system to protect them however, and Sevilla are not the team they were under Emery. Chelsea vs Barcelona Two old rivals meet again, and it could be Antonio Conte&#39;s last chance to save his job. The Chelsea&#39;s managers blue on blue combat with the club&#39;s hierarchy lingered through January, and there looked to be open mutiny in the dressing room after 3-0 and 4-1 defeats against Bournemouth and Watford. A back-up striker for Alvaro Morata arrived in Olivier Giroud but public disagreements over transfer policy continued. The Spaniard continues to struggle with a back injury, while Conte has also sidelined last season&#39;s defensive stalwart David Luiz. Confidence is fragile, especially for Tiemoue Bakayoko who looks a shell of the player he was at Monaco. Contenders to replace Conte at Chelsea Barcelona have been functional rather than spectacular in recent weeks, scoring only six goals in their last five in all competitions, but are over the hill and far away in the league. Summer signing Ousmane Dembele returned to the bench against Getafe after a serious thigh injury, while Luis Suarez has re-discovered his goalscoring touch since Christmas. Coutinho is cup-tied having played for Liverpool in the group stages. Verdict: Chelsea were much-fancied when the draw was made, but they look ripe for a pasting unless they can pull a performance out of the fire. Barcelona have been in second gear for a while, and might be saving themselves for the trip to Stamford Bridge. Shakhtar Donetsk vs Roma Shakhtar will have played just one competitive match between December&#39;s draw at the visit of Roma, but have played a series of friendlies in an effort to stay sharp. The big positive for Shakhtar over the winter was keeping central midfielder Fred, though Man City are expected to return for the Brazilian in the summer. The positivity around Roma in the season&#39;s early months has dissipated since the draw, with Eusebio Di Francesco&#39;s team winning only three of their last 10 in all competitions. Defensive midfielder Maxime Gonalons will likely miss out with a calf injury, but the Serie A club did manager to keep Edin Dzeko despite interest from Chelsea. Left-back Emerson Palmieri did get his move to Stamford Bridge, however. Verdict: What kind of shape will Shakhtar be in after a long winter break? The balance of this tie has not really changed, but the Ukranian side showed against Man City what a dynamic side they are. Fred in action against Man City Credit: Reuters Bayern Munich vs Besiktas Under the guidance of Juup Heynckes, Bayern are on a 14-game winning run in all competitions. Their dominance at home has sometimes left previous Bayern teams short on high-intensity match practice, but that should not prove too problematic against Besiktas. The inimitable Manuel Neuer is a long-term absentee, and while they are heavily reliant on Robert Lewandowski, Sandro Wagner did arrive from Hoffenheim in January to share the load. Besiktas surprised many by progressing through a group containing RB Leipzig and Monaco, but lost their centre forward Cenk Tosun to Everton in the January window. Just three points separate the top four in the Turkish league - possibly Europe&#39;s most exciting title race - and Besiktas are in touch after three wins in four. Verdict: Bayern are heavy favourites, and Tosun&#39;s departure only strengthens that.
How has the balance of each Champions League tie changed since the draw?
Champions League football returns on Tuesday, three months and one day after the last-16 draw in Nyon, Switzerland. The interlude between group and knockout stages contained winter breaks, a transfer window, managerial dismissals, fluctuations in form and injuries to key players. So who has emerged from European hibernation in the best shape, and who has seen their chances diminish amid a winter of discontent? For the first time in the competition's history, there are five Premier League teams left in the competition at this stage with Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City first up this week. The complexion of the draw can change significantly after Christmas, so where do we stand? Juventus vs Tottenham Hotspur The defence that never concedes against the striker who always scores. Juventus have been impeccable since they were drawn against Spurs, with 11 consecutive wins in all competitions either side of Serie A's January break. A 16-match unbeaten run extends into November, during which they have conceded one (ONE) goal. Their early-season struggles threatened to turn Serie A into an exhilarating four or five horse race for the Scudetto, but the Old Lady and Napoli have pulled clear of the rest. Juventus mostly play with a back four now, and have tightened up considerably. Gonzalo Higuain looked rotund in the season's early weeks but is in fine fettle with six goals in his last four. Paulo Dybala remains an injury doubt despite returning to light training, and Juventus could be also be without summer signings Douglas Costa and Blaise Matuidi. Federico Bernardeschi has deputised ably for Dybala, while old warhorse Claudio Marchisio will take Matuidi's place. They did no significant business in January. Tottenham vs Arsenal player ratings The last three months have been overwhelmingly positive for Spurs. They are still in the FA Cup and cemented their place in the Champions League places by taking seven points from games against Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool in the last month. January signing Lucas Moura is not cup-tied, and although Toby Alderweireld is set to be left at home, Mauricio Pochettino has a full compliment to choose from. Verdict:Both sides are in fantastic form, though Juventus carry more injury concerns. That said, the timing of Tottenham's trip to Italy after three high-intensity league games could prove a handicap. FC Basel vs Manchester City The Swiss championship resumed on February 3rd after a lengthy winter break, meaning Basel have only played three competitive matches since the draw pitted them against champions elect Man City. The mid-winter interval halted Basel's momentum, who were on an eight-match winning streak that included a 1-0 win over Man Utd. The January transfer window may have weakened them too, with promising defender Manuel Akanji moving to Borussia Dortmund for £19 million. The Swiss club re-signed a couple of familiar faces with Champions League experience - Fabian Frei and forward Valentin Stocker. Man City have continued their relentless march to the title, and possibly Premier League history. There are no doubts over form and morale, but their squad has been depleted by a series of medium-term injuries. Will anyone stop Man City? Credit: PA Pep Guardiola has been without Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus, while David Silva has been intermittently absent for family reasons. Benjamin Mendy and Fabian Delph are also on the sidelines, so 21-year-old Oleksandr Zinchenko is likely to fill-in at left back. City failed in a deadline day move for Riyad Mahrez after pulling out of the race for Alexis Sanchez. Verdict:Man City were heavy favourites when the draw was made, and remain so. Injuries might cost them against stronger opponents, but they should negotiate this tie. The winter break makes Basel something of an unknown quantity - will they be fresh and energetic, or rusty and short of City's intensity? Porto vs Liverpool Remarkably, Porto are only two points clear of Benfica in the Portuguese League despite not losing a league match all season. Sporting Lisbon knocked them out of the League Cup on penalties, but Porto have seven points from nine since the resumption of league football. Felipe will serve a one-match suspension against Liverpool while centre forward Vincent Aboubakar is also an injury doubt. Liverpool lose Philippe Coutinho from their Champions League squad, but do gain January signing Virgil van Dijk who brings the added advantage of not being cup-tied. Liverpool's form since the draw has been strong, with a surprise defeat away at Swansea and cup exit to West Brom the only blots on the copy book. Jurgen Klopp has no significant injury concerns, and should be able to field a Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah as a front three. Verdict: The balance of the tie has not changed much since the draw. It's a presentable chance for Liverpool to reach the last eight, but Porto are historically strong at the Estadio do Dragao. Real Madrid vs Paris Saint-Germain The tie of the round, and the odds have shifted significantly in PSG's favour since the draw. The Champions League is Zinedine Zidane's only chance to make this season a success, with Real Madrid 17 points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona. Zidane galvanised a group of player's disillusioned by Rafael Benitez's methods, the Frenchman is not at the vanguard of tactical innovation. The holders have won just three of their last seven league games, with Cristiano Ronaldo badly out of sorts and goalscoring form. Right-back Dani Carvajal is suspended for the first leg. Paris Saint-Germain could win their first Champions League Credit: AFP PSG on the other hand, are cruising in Ligue 1 with a defeat at Lyon the one hiccup in an otherwise exemplary run of seven league wins in eight since the draw. Kylian Mbappe gave Unai Emery an injury scare but has returned in good time, and although Neymar was pictured with ice on both ankles on Sunday their marquee signing should be available. Verdict: They have won the tournament three times in the past four seasons, but it would be a surprise if Real Madrid progressed. PSG look the pacier, more inventive attacking force and all is not well at the Bernabeu. Sevilla vs Manchester United Sevilla made the startling decision to sack manager Eduardo Berizzo in December, days after he had returned from prostate cancer surgery. His parting gift to the club was a place in the last-16, and Vincenzo Montella will be in the dug-out to face Man Utd. The Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium created a raucous atmosphere, but they have won only two of eight league matches since the draw. Premier League mis-fits Sandro Ramirez and Roque Mesa joined on loan in January, along with Corinthians full-back Guilherme Arana. Simon Kjaer has missed the last eight games with a back injury, but Steven N'Zonzi has been reintegrated under Montella. Man Utd may have 'won the transfer window' with the arrival of Alexis Sanchez, but their performances over the past few months have been far from convincing. Jose Mourinho seems reluctant to leave out one of his big-name forwards, and their 4-2-3-1 system has left a sub-standard back four exposed against good sides. Why can't Jose Mourinho get the most out of Paul Pogba? The former Chelsea manager has a fantastic record in European knock-out football, but might have to rediscover his pragmatic edge to ensure United come back from Spain unscathed. Defensive injuries to Marcos Rojo and particularly Eric Bailly have been debilitating. Verdict: United have even more attacking quality and talent thanks to the purchase of Sanchez, but their back four looks vulnerable for an away game in Europe. You would just about fancy Mourinho to come up with a system to protect them however, and Sevilla are not the team they were under Emery. Chelsea vs Barcelona Two old rivals meet again, and it could be Antonio Conte's last chance to save his job. The Chelsea's managers blue on blue combat with the club's hierarchy lingered through January, and there looked to be open mutiny in the dressing room after 3-0 and 4-1 defeats against Bournemouth and Watford. A back-up striker for Alvaro Morata arrived in Olivier Giroud but public disagreements over transfer policy continued. The Spaniard continues to struggle with a back injury, while Conte has also sidelined last season's defensive stalwart David Luiz. Confidence is fragile, especially for Tiemoue Bakayoko who looks a shell of the player he was at Monaco. Contenders to replace Conte at Chelsea Barcelona have been functional rather than spectacular in recent weeks, scoring only six goals in their last five in all competitions, but are over the hill and far away in the league. Summer signing Ousmane Dembele returned to the bench against Getafe after a serious thigh injury, while Luis Suarez has re-discovered his goalscoring touch since Christmas. Coutinho is cup-tied having played for Liverpool in the group stages. Verdict: Chelsea were much-fancied when the draw was made, but they look ripe for a pasting unless they can pull a performance out of the fire. Barcelona have been in second gear for a while, and might be saving themselves for the trip to Stamford Bridge. Shakhtar Donetsk vs Roma Shakhtar will have played just one competitive match between December's draw at the visit of Roma, but have played a series of friendlies in an effort to stay sharp. The big positive for Shakhtar over the winter was keeping central midfielder Fred, though Man City are expected to return for the Brazilian in the summer. The positivity around Roma in the season's early months has dissipated since the draw, with Eusebio Di Francesco's team winning only three of their last 10 in all competitions. Defensive midfielder Maxime Gonalons will likely miss out with a calf injury, but the Serie A club did manager to keep Edin Dzeko despite interest from Chelsea. Left-back Emerson Palmieri did get his move to Stamford Bridge, however. Verdict: What kind of shape will Shakhtar be in after a long winter break? The balance of this tie has not really changed, but the Ukranian side showed against Man City what a dynamic side they are. Fred in action against Man City Credit: Reuters Bayern Munich vs Besiktas Under the guidance of Juup Heynckes, Bayern are on a 14-game winning run in all competitions. Their dominance at home has sometimes left previous Bayern teams short on high-intensity match practice, but that should not prove too problematic against Besiktas. The inimitable Manuel Neuer is a long-term absentee, and while they are heavily reliant on Robert Lewandowski, Sandro Wagner did arrive from Hoffenheim in January to share the load. Besiktas surprised many by progressing through a group containing RB Leipzig and Monaco, but lost their centre forward Cenk Tosun to Everton in the January window. Just three points separate the top four in the Turkish league - possibly Europe's most exciting title race - and Besiktas are in touch after three wins in four. Verdict: Bayern are heavy favourites, and Tosun's departure only strengthens that.
Loris Karius, the Liverpool goalkeeper, has said being named as Jurgen Klopp’s first-choice goalkeeper and playing regular football for the first time this season has been a major reason for his upturn in form. Klopp said last month that Karius is now his primary pick in goal, and the German has played in every league game since the 4-3 victory over Manchester City. Karius had only played in one Premier League game all season until December, with Simon Mignolet firmly installed as Klopp’s first-choice goalkeeper. Having looked shaky at times in his first season on Merseyside after joining in 2016, Karius has impressed in recent weeks and made a string of fine saves against Southampton on Sunday. “I am feeling good and getting consistent game time helps a lot,” Karius said. “In the last few games I have had more stuff to do and I have been able to make some saves, which gives you more confidence. “I feel good, I feel strong and I always try to be there when the team needs me. I have had a lot of experience but it definitely helps when you play regularly instead of coming in and out of the team.” Karius was well protected at St Mary’s by the commanding presence of Virgil van Dijk, who excelled at centre-back on his first return to the south coast since his £75 million move from Southampton in the January transfer window. Karius has replaced Simon Mignolet as Liverpool&#39;s first-choice goalkeeper Credit: AFP “Virgil has played quite a bit now and with him in front we are getting more used to each other,” Karius said. “That’s important for the team. “He is a great player. Of course he has to adapt a bit because our style is so different. We defend high and he needs to get used to Dejan [Lovren] and Joel [Matip]. Individually, Virgil is a top player. That’s why Liverpool paid the price they did for him. “The more he gets used to our style, he’s finding his feet more and more. It is good to see and and as a keeper you feel comfortable having players like that in front of you.” Liverpool travel to Portugal to face Porto on Wednesday night in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 meeting. Porto are top of the Primeira Liga table and are two points clear of Benfica with a game in hand.“Having the second game at home can be a real advantage for us,” Karius said. “But for it to be an advantage we need to put ourselves in a good position in the tie.”
Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius explains his upturn in form: 'Getting consistent game time helps a lot'
Loris Karius, the Liverpool goalkeeper, has said being named as Jurgen Klopp’s first-choice goalkeeper and playing regular football for the first time this season has been a major reason for his upturn in form. Klopp said last month that Karius is now his primary pick in goal, and the German has played in every league game since the 4-3 victory over Manchester City. Karius had only played in one Premier League game all season until December, with Simon Mignolet firmly installed as Klopp’s first-choice goalkeeper. Having looked shaky at times in his first season on Merseyside after joining in 2016, Karius has impressed in recent weeks and made a string of fine saves against Southampton on Sunday. “I am feeling good and getting consistent game time helps a lot,” Karius said. “In the last few games I have had more stuff to do and I have been able to make some saves, which gives you more confidence. “I feel good, I feel strong and I always try to be there when the team needs me. I have had a lot of experience but it definitely helps when you play regularly instead of coming in and out of the team.” Karius was well protected at St Mary’s by the commanding presence of Virgil van Dijk, who excelled at centre-back on his first return to the south coast since his £75 million move from Southampton in the January transfer window. Karius has replaced Simon Mignolet as Liverpool's first-choice goalkeeper Credit: AFP “Virgil has played quite a bit now and with him in front we are getting more used to each other,” Karius said. “That’s important for the team. “He is a great player. Of course he has to adapt a bit because our style is so different. We defend high and he needs to get used to Dejan [Lovren] and Joel [Matip]. Individually, Virgil is a top player. That’s why Liverpool paid the price they did for him. “The more he gets used to our style, he’s finding his feet more and more. It is good to see and and as a keeper you feel comfortable having players like that in front of you.” Liverpool travel to Portugal to face Porto on Wednesday night in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 meeting. Porto are top of the Primeira Liga table and are two points clear of Benfica with a game in hand.“Having the second game at home can be a real advantage for us,” Karius said. “But for it to be an advantage we need to put ourselves in a good position in the tie.”
Loris Karius, the Liverpool goalkeeper, has said being named as Jurgen Klopp’s first-choice goalkeeper and playing regular football for the first time this season has been a major reason for his upturn in form. Klopp said last month that Karius is now his primary pick in goal, and the German has played in every league game since the 4-3 victory over Manchester City. Karius had only played in one Premier League game all season until December, with Simon Mignolet firmly installed as Klopp’s first-choice goalkeeper. Having looked shaky at times in his first season on Merseyside after joining in 2016, Karius has impressed in recent weeks and made a string of fine saves against Southampton on Sunday. “I am feeling good and getting consistent game time helps a lot,” Karius said. “In the last few games I have had more stuff to do and I have been able to make some saves, which gives you more confidence. “I feel good, I feel strong and I always try to be there when the team needs me. I have had a lot of experience but it definitely helps when you play regularly instead of coming in and out of the team.” Karius was well protected at St Mary’s by the commanding presence of Virgil van Dijk, who excelled at centre-back on his first return to the south coast since his £75 million move from Southampton in the January transfer window. Karius has replaced Simon Mignolet as Liverpool&#39;s first-choice goalkeeper Credit: AFP “Virgil has played quite a bit now and with him in front we are getting more used to each other,” Karius said. “That’s important for the team. “He is a great player. Of course he has to adapt a bit because our style is so different. We defend high and he needs to get used to Dejan [Lovren] and Joel [Matip]. Individually, Virgil is a top player. That’s why Liverpool paid the price they did for him. “The more he gets used to our style, he’s finding his feet more and more. It is good to see and and as a keeper you feel comfortable having players like that in front of you.” Liverpool travel to Portugal to face Porto on Wednesday night in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 meeting. Porto are top of the Primeira Liga table and are two points clear of Benfica with a game in hand.“Having the second game at home can be a real advantage for us,” Karius said. “But for it to be an advantage we need to put ourselves in a good position in the tie.”
Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius explains his upturn in form: 'Getting consistent game time helps a lot'
Loris Karius, the Liverpool goalkeeper, has said being named as Jurgen Klopp’s first-choice goalkeeper and playing regular football for the first time this season has been a major reason for his upturn in form. Klopp said last month that Karius is now his primary pick in goal, and the German has played in every league game since the 4-3 victory over Manchester City. Karius had only played in one Premier League game all season until December, with Simon Mignolet firmly installed as Klopp’s first-choice goalkeeper. Having looked shaky at times in his first season on Merseyside after joining in 2016, Karius has impressed in recent weeks and made a string of fine saves against Southampton on Sunday. “I am feeling good and getting consistent game time helps a lot,” Karius said. “In the last few games I have had more stuff to do and I have been able to make some saves, which gives you more confidence. “I feel good, I feel strong and I always try to be there when the team needs me. I have had a lot of experience but it definitely helps when you play regularly instead of coming in and out of the team.” Karius was well protected at St Mary’s by the commanding presence of Virgil van Dijk, who excelled at centre-back on his first return to the south coast since his £75 million move from Southampton in the January transfer window. Karius has replaced Simon Mignolet as Liverpool's first-choice goalkeeper Credit: AFP “Virgil has played quite a bit now and with him in front we are getting more used to each other,” Karius said. “That’s important for the team. “He is a great player. Of course he has to adapt a bit because our style is so different. We defend high and he needs to get used to Dejan [Lovren] and Joel [Matip]. Individually, Virgil is a top player. That’s why Liverpool paid the price they did for him. “The more he gets used to our style, he’s finding his feet more and more. It is good to see and and as a keeper you feel comfortable having players like that in front of you.” Liverpool travel to Portugal to face Porto on Wednesday night in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 meeting. Porto are top of the Primeira Liga table and are two points clear of Benfica with a game in hand.“Having the second game at home can be a real advantage for us,” Karius said. “But for it to be an advantage we need to put ourselves in a good position in the tie.”
Pep Guardiola has revealed Leroy Sane is returning to boost Manchester City’s Champions League mission, just over two weeks since suffering ankle ligament damage. Sane has flown out with City’s squad to Basel for the round of 16 tie and could even start at St. Jakob-Park as City return to European competition. It was initially feared that the Germany international could be sidelined until late March after he was the victim of a dreadful challenge from Cardiff defender Joe Bennett in the FA Cup tie between the two clubs last month. The tackle infuriated Guardiola and sparked off an angry tirade from the City manager over the standard of refereeing and absence of protection for his players. But Sane has only missed Premier League games against West Bromwich Albion, Burnley and Leicester and has made himself available as Guardiola pursues the quadruple. David Silva is also back from injury Credit: Action Images David Silva and Fabian Delph are also in City’s squad, after returning from injuries, but it is the swift return of Sane that has stunned Guardiola. If the winger does appear against FC Basel, it will ensure he has returned five weeks ahead of schedule. Guardiola said: &quot;I&#39;m surprised but he has worked a lot. I couldn’t expect it with a young guy, to be so professional. “He&#39;s not in perfect condition but he has run a lot and he wants to help us. He is with us and that&#39;s good news. They have done a good job, both the physio’s and himself.” When asked if Sane could start, Guardiola smiled and replied simply: “He’s young”. Sitting next to Guardiola was Vincent Kompany and there was a wonderful moment when the City captain remarked on Sane’s swift return by admitting “a bit longer than I usually take”, in reference to his persistent injury problems. Kompany is likely to be involved against the Swiss champions and has admitted it is now City’s time to finally issue a statement of intent in this competition. The Belgium international knows from painful experience how City have struggled during previous European excursions: his career with the club began in 2008 when City competed in the Uefa League. Last season they were knocked out of the Champions League at the last 16 stage on away goals by Monaco but Kompany believes this year could be different. “We&#39;ve been caught out in Europe on occasions we shouldn&#39;t have but things have changed. If there is a year, a moment when the club is ready to feel at home, then it is now,” he said. “Some clubs never win it, but if every year we can go with this kind of confidence then if not this year or next year, eventually we&#39;ll get there. I&#39;m sure of it. “We are trying to break into a well-established order - Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, - any team who has tried it has failed. First it&#39;s Basel and then getting to the stage where we can measure ourselves against these teams and feel like we can beat them.&quot; City will face an Basel team who embarrassed Manchester United in the group stages, while they also recorded an impressive 5-0 home victory over Benfica. The Swiss team have been league winners eight times in a row but manager Raphael Wicky is acutely aware that his side face a daunting task. “I think the team has no weaknesses, they show that every three days in all competitions,” he said. “They are a very flexible team and are able to react very well to the opposition. We don&#39;t have to talk about the quality of the opponents or the coach. “If we fight in such competitions, we need a perfect night, with a lot of courage, emotion, and the fans have to be there, for us to stage a surprise. “We have the belief that we can do it, but there is no great tactical plan behind it.”
Leroy Sane returns to Man City squad for Champions League trip to Basel
Pep Guardiola has revealed Leroy Sane is returning to boost Manchester City’s Champions League mission, just over two weeks since suffering ankle ligament damage. Sane has flown out with City’s squad to Basel for the round of 16 tie and could even start at St. Jakob-Park as City return to European competition. It was initially feared that the Germany international could be sidelined until late March after he was the victim of a dreadful challenge from Cardiff defender Joe Bennett in the FA Cup tie between the two clubs last month. The tackle infuriated Guardiola and sparked off an angry tirade from the City manager over the standard of refereeing and absence of protection for his players. But Sane has only missed Premier League games against West Bromwich Albion, Burnley and Leicester and has made himself available as Guardiola pursues the quadruple. David Silva is also back from injury Credit: Action Images David Silva and Fabian Delph are also in City’s squad, after returning from injuries, but it is the swift return of Sane that has stunned Guardiola. If the winger does appear against FC Basel, it will ensure he has returned five weeks ahead of schedule. Guardiola said: "I'm surprised but he has worked a lot. I couldn’t expect it with a young guy, to be so professional. “He's not in perfect condition but he has run a lot and he wants to help us. He is with us and that's good news. They have done a good job, both the physio’s and himself.” When asked if Sane could start, Guardiola smiled and replied simply: “He’s young”. Sitting next to Guardiola was Vincent Kompany and there was a wonderful moment when the City captain remarked on Sane’s swift return by admitting “a bit longer than I usually take”, in reference to his persistent injury problems. Kompany is likely to be involved against the Swiss champions and has admitted it is now City’s time to finally issue a statement of intent in this competition. The Belgium international knows from painful experience how City have struggled during previous European excursions: his career with the club began in 2008 when City competed in the Uefa League. Last season they were knocked out of the Champions League at the last 16 stage on away goals by Monaco but Kompany believes this year could be different. “We've been caught out in Europe on occasions we shouldn't have but things have changed. If there is a year, a moment when the club is ready to feel at home, then it is now,” he said. “Some clubs never win it, but if every year we can go with this kind of confidence then if not this year or next year, eventually we'll get there. I'm sure of it. “We are trying to break into a well-established order - Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, - any team who has tried it has failed. First it's Basel and then getting to the stage where we can measure ourselves against these teams and feel like we can beat them." City will face an Basel team who embarrassed Manchester United in the group stages, while they also recorded an impressive 5-0 home victory over Benfica. The Swiss team have been league winners eight times in a row but manager Raphael Wicky is acutely aware that his side face a daunting task. “I think the team has no weaknesses, they show that every three days in all competitions,” he said. “They are a very flexible team and are able to react very well to the opposition. We don't have to talk about the quality of the opponents or the coach. “If we fight in such competitions, we need a perfect night, with a lot of courage, emotion, and the fans have to be there, for us to stage a surprise. “We have the belief that we can do it, but there is no great tactical plan behind it.”
Pep Guardiola has revealed Leroy Sane is returning to boost Manchester City’s Champions League mission, just over two weeks since suffering ankle ligament damage. Sane has flown out with City’s squad to Basel for the round of 16 tie and could even start at St. Jakob-Park as City return to European competition. It was initially feared that the Germany international could be sidelined until late March after he was the victim of a dreadful challenge from Cardiff defender Joe Bennett in the FA Cup tie between the two clubs last month. The tackle infuriated Guardiola and sparked off an angry tirade from the City manager over the standard of refereeing and absence of protection for his players. But Sane has only missed Premier League games against West Bromwich Albion, Burnley and Leicester and has made himself available as Guardiola pursues the quadruple. David Silva is also back from injury Credit: Action Images David Silva and Fabian Delph are also in City’s squad, after returning from injuries, but it is the swift return of Sane that has stunned Guardiola. If the winger does appear against FC Basel, it will ensure he has returned five weeks ahead of schedule. Guardiola said: &quot;I&#39;m surprised but he has worked a lot. I couldn’t expect it with a young guy, to be so professional. “He&#39;s not in perfect condition but he has run a lot and he wants to help us. He is with us and that&#39;s good news. They have done a good job, both the physio’s and himself.” When asked if Sane could start, Guardiola smiled and replied simply: “He’s young”. Sitting next to Guardiola was Vincent Kompany and there was a wonderful moment when the City captain remarked on Sane’s swift return by admitting “a bit longer than I usually take”, in reference to his persistent injury problems. Kompany is likely to be involved against the Swiss champions and has admitted it is now City’s time to finally issue a statement of intent in this competition. The Belgium international knows from painful experience how City have struggled during previous European excursions: his career with the club began in 2008 when City competed in the Uefa League. Last season they were knocked out of the Champions League at the last 16 stage on away goals by Monaco but Kompany believes this year could be different. “We&#39;ve been caught out in Europe on occasions we shouldn&#39;t have but things have changed. If there is a year, a moment when the club is ready to feel at home, then it is now,” he said. “Some clubs never win it, but if every year we can go with this kind of confidence then if not this year or next year, eventually we&#39;ll get there. I&#39;m sure of it. “We are trying to break into a well-established order - Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, - any team who has tried it has failed. First it&#39;s Basel and then getting to the stage where we can measure ourselves against these teams and feel like we can beat them.&quot; City will face an Basel team who embarrassed Manchester United in the group stages, while they also recorded an impressive 5-0 home victory over Benfica. The Swiss team have been league winners eight times in a row but manager Raphael Wicky is acutely aware that his side face a daunting task. “I think the team has no weaknesses, they show that every three days in all competitions,” he said. “They are a very flexible team and are able to react very well to the opposition. We don&#39;t have to talk about the quality of the opponents or the coach. “If we fight in such competitions, we need a perfect night, with a lot of courage, emotion, and the fans have to be there, for us to stage a surprise. “We have the belief that we can do it, but there is no great tactical plan behind it.”
Leroy Sane returns to Man City squad for Champions League trip to Basel
Pep Guardiola has revealed Leroy Sane is returning to boost Manchester City’s Champions League mission, just over two weeks since suffering ankle ligament damage. Sane has flown out with City’s squad to Basel for the round of 16 tie and could even start at St. Jakob-Park as City return to European competition. It was initially feared that the Germany international could be sidelined until late March after he was the victim of a dreadful challenge from Cardiff defender Joe Bennett in the FA Cup tie between the two clubs last month. The tackle infuriated Guardiola and sparked off an angry tirade from the City manager over the standard of refereeing and absence of protection for his players. But Sane has only missed Premier League games against West Bromwich Albion, Burnley and Leicester and has made himself available as Guardiola pursues the quadruple. David Silva is also back from injury Credit: Action Images David Silva and Fabian Delph are also in City’s squad, after returning from injuries, but it is the swift return of Sane that has stunned Guardiola. If the winger does appear against FC Basel, it will ensure he has returned five weeks ahead of schedule. Guardiola said: "I'm surprised but he has worked a lot. I couldn’t expect it with a young guy, to be so professional. “He's not in perfect condition but he has run a lot and he wants to help us. He is with us and that's good news. They have done a good job, both the physio’s and himself.” When asked if Sane could start, Guardiola smiled and replied simply: “He’s young”. Sitting next to Guardiola was Vincent Kompany and there was a wonderful moment when the City captain remarked on Sane’s swift return by admitting “a bit longer than I usually take”, in reference to his persistent injury problems. Kompany is likely to be involved against the Swiss champions and has admitted it is now City’s time to finally issue a statement of intent in this competition. The Belgium international knows from painful experience how City have struggled during previous European excursions: his career with the club began in 2008 when City competed in the Uefa League. Last season they were knocked out of the Champions League at the last 16 stage on away goals by Monaco but Kompany believes this year could be different. “We've been caught out in Europe on occasions we shouldn't have but things have changed. If there is a year, a moment when the club is ready to feel at home, then it is now,” he said. “Some clubs never win it, but if every year we can go with this kind of confidence then if not this year or next year, eventually we'll get there. I'm sure of it. “We are trying to break into a well-established order - Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, - any team who has tried it has failed. First it's Basel and then getting to the stage where we can measure ourselves against these teams and feel like we can beat them." City will face an Basel team who embarrassed Manchester United in the group stages, while they also recorded an impressive 5-0 home victory over Benfica. The Swiss team have been league winners eight times in a row but manager Raphael Wicky is acutely aware that his side face a daunting task. “I think the team has no weaknesses, they show that every three days in all competitions,” he said. “They are a very flexible team and are able to react very well to the opposition. We don't have to talk about the quality of the opponents or the coach. “If we fight in such competitions, we need a perfect night, with a lot of courage, emotion, and the fans have to be there, for us to stage a surprise. “We have the belief that we can do it, but there is no great tactical plan behind it.”
Brazilian Tiquinho Soares scored twice as Porto warmed up for Wednesday&#39;s Champions League tie against Liverpool with a 4-0 thumping of Chaves on Sunday to retake top spot in Portugal from Benfica.
Porto Warm Up for Liverpool by Thrashing Chaves
Brazilian Tiquinho Soares scored twice as Porto warmed up for Wednesday's Champions League tie against Liverpool with a 4-0 thumping of Chaves on Sunday to retake top spot in Portugal from Benfica.
<p>Simon Msuva hits hat-trick as Difaa Al Jadida win against Benfica Bissau</p>
Simon Msuva hits hat-trick as Difaa Al Jadida win against Benfica Bissau

Simon Msuva hits hat-trick as Difaa Al Jadida win against Benfica Bissau

<p>Simon Msuva hits hat-trick as Difaa Al Jadida win against Benfica Bissau</p>
Simon Msuva hits hat-trick as Difaa Al Jadida win against Benfica Bissau

Simon Msuva hits hat-trick as Difaa Al Jadida win against Benfica Bissau

The Al Jadida striker has a masterplan for scoring goals that’s so basic, it’s brilliant
Simon Msuva hot streak in front of goal continues in Moroccan league
The Al Jadida striker has a masterplan for scoring goals that’s so basic, it’s brilliant
AC. Faro (Portugal), 10/02/2018.- Portimonense´s Bruno Fede Varela (R) in action against Benfica´s Zivkovic (L) during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Portimao Stadium in Portimao, south of Portugal, 10 February 2018. EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
AC. Faro (Portugal), 10/02/2018.- Portimonense´s Bruno Fede Varela (R) in action against Benfica´s Zivkovic (L) during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Portimao Stadium in Portimao, south of Portugal, 10 February 2018. EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
AC. Faro (Portugal), 10/02/2018.- Portimonense´s Bruno Fede Varela (R) in action against Benfica´s Zivkovic (L) during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Portimao Stadium in Portimao, south of Portugal, 10 February 2018. EFE/EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
AC. Faro (Portugal), 10/02/2018.- Portimonense´s Bruno Tabata (C) in action against Benfica´s Jardel (L) and Fejsa (L) during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Portimao Stadium in Portimao, south of Portugal, 10 February 2018. EFE/EPA/LUIS FORRA
AC. Faro (Portugal), 10/02/2018.- Portimonense´s Bruno Tabata (C) in action against Benfica´s Jardel (L) and Fejsa (L) during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Portimao Stadium in Portimao, south of Portugal, 10 February 2018. EFE/EPA/LUIS FORRA
AC. Faro (Portugal), 10/02/2018.- Portimonense´s Bruno Tabata (C) in action against Benfica´s Jardel (L) and Fejsa (L) during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Portimao Stadium in Portimao, south of Portugal, 10 February 2018. EFE/EPA/LUIS FORRA
AC. Faro (Portugal), 10/02/2018.- Benfica´s Zivkovic celebrates a goal against Portimonense during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Portimao Stadium in Portimao, south of Portugal, 10 February 2018. EFE/EPA/LUIS FORRA
AC. Faro (Portugal), 10/02/2018.- Benfica´s Zivkovic celebrates a goal against Portimonense during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Portimao Stadium in Portimao, south of Portugal, 10 February 2018. EFE/EPA/LUIS FORRA
AC. Faro (Portugal), 10/02/2018.- Benfica´s Zivkovic celebrates a goal against Portimonense during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Portimao Stadium in Portimao, south of Portugal, 10 February 2018. EFE/EPA/LUIS FORRA
AC. Faro (Portugal), 10/02/2018.- Portimonense´s head coach Vitor Oliveira greets Benfica&#39;s head coach Rui Vitoria before their Portuguese First League soccer match at Portimao Stadium in Portimao, south of Portugal, 10 February 2018. EFE/EPA/LUIS FORRA
AC. Faro (Portugal), 10/02/2018.- Portimonense´s head coach Vitor Oliveira greets Benfica's head coach Rui Vitoria before their Portuguese First League soccer match at Portimao Stadium in Portimao, south of Portugal, 10 February 2018. EFE/EPA/LUIS FORRA
AC. Faro (Portugal), 10/02/2018.- Portimonense´s head coach Vitor Oliveira greets Benfica's head coach Rui Vitoria before their Portuguese First League soccer match at Portimao Stadium in Portimao, south of Portugal, 10 February 2018. EFE/EPA/LUIS FORRA
AC. Faro (Portugal), 10/02/2018.- Portimonense´s Bruno Tabata (R in action against Benfica´s Grimaldo (L) during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Portimao Stadium in Portimao, south of Portugal, 10 February 2018. EFE/EPA/LUIS FORRA
AC. Faro (Portugal), 10/02/2018.- Portimonense´s Bruno Tabata (R in action against Benfica´s Grimaldo (L) during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Portimao Stadium in Portimao, south of Portugal, 10 February 2018. EFE/EPA/LUIS FORRA
AC. Faro (Portugal), 10/02/2018.- Portimonense´s Bruno Tabata (R in action against Benfica´s Grimaldo (L) during their Portuguese First League soccer match at Portimao Stadium in Portimao, south of Portugal, 10 February 2018. EFE/EPA/LUIS FORRA

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