Former England international Peter Crouch has picked Premier League duo Liverpool and Manchester City as the favourites for this season’s UEFA Champions League.
Writing in his column for the Daily Mail (h/t Liverpool Echo), Peter Crouch has named Liverpool and Manchester City as his favourites for this season’s UEFA Champions League title.
Both clubs dominated their groups and qualified for the last 16 with consummate ease. Manchester City received a favourable draw against Portuguese champions Sporting Lisbon, while Liverpool received a challenging matchup against Inter Milan.
Crouch believes that the current era is an exciting one for English football, and as the league’s top dogs, Liverpool and Manchester City can keep the Premier League flag flying high on the continental stage. The former striker’s comments are not unfounded, given that English teams have made the final in three of the last four seasons, two of which were all-English showpieces.
“We are living through an exciting time for English football and are currently in a spell of Premier League dominance,” Crouch wrote. “I cannot see much past the Premier League clubs. Liverpool and City are my favourites and I’m struggling to split them in Europe.”
Liverpool lifted their sixth title in 2019, while Man City made it to their first final last season. It will take a brave man to bet against the duo being among the favourites for this season’s competition as well.
Jurgen Klopp has a full-strength squad at his disposal and goes into Wednesday’s trip to the San Siro in top form. The Reds have lost just two games all season in all competitions. Klopp also retains the spine of the squad that won the competition in 2019, and there is precious little to suggest that they cannot repeat the trick.
Pep Guardiola’s side continues to put away teams with ease on a regular basis and are runaway leaders in the Premier League. Man City certainly have the quality and will hopefully be seeking to go one better this season. The Champions League has been the one trophy that has given Guardiola the slip during his stint at the Etihad.
There are few clubs in European football that can stop a Liverpool or Manchester City side in their tracks. Of the ones in the fray, Crouch believes German champions Bayern Munich could potentially play spoilsport. Die Roten won the title in 2020 and remain a formidable side in European football. While both Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain do have a shot, they have their own shortcomings that could cost them.
Crouch wrote: “Bayern Munich are the real threat. Robert Lewandowski is lethal, supplemented with pace and ability in midfield. The rest? Real Madrid remain a top side but lag behind. Paris Saint-Germain have top players but are they ever going to truly gel as a unit?”
Both Liverpool and Manchester City have showcased not just consistency, but also the ability to dig deep and secure the desired results. Whether Crouch will prove to be a soothsayer come the showpiece event in May remains to be seen.