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Champions League draw analysis: Liverpool, Man City, Spurs and Chelsea’s last-16 opponents


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The draw has been made and dates penciled into calendars. We now know how the last 16 of the Champions League will play out.

Big ties await for each of Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea, while Jose Mourinho and his Tottenham side must go up against unknown quantity RB Leipzig and their young coach Julian Nagelsmann.

With fans now looking ahead to the knock-out stages of European football’s elite competition, Sportsmail examines the potential twists and turns on the horizon. 

Scroll down for the full knockout stage fixture calendar. 

The Champions League last 16 draw has been confirmed as the competition intensifies

Liverpool vs Atletico Madrid

The Champions League gods appeared to be smiling down on the draw and deemed it just that Liverpool should return to the scene of their most joyous triumph of recent history.

Less than 12 months after winning the Champions League inside the Wanda Metropolitano stadium, Jurgen Klopp’s Reds shall return.

Liverpool will defend their title in the same stadium they won it in, less than 12 months ago

Liverpool will defend their title in the same stadium they won it in, less than 12 months ago

This time around they’ll face Diego Simeone’s Atletico, who will pose a much different threat than Liverpool have been used to during their recent European exploits.

Known for their discipline and defensive rigidity, Atleti will no doubt be difficult for Klopp’s side to break down. Despite their electric front three, Liverpool may struggle to take a commanding lead back to Anfield for the second leg. 

Domestically, while Liverpool are flying this season and enjoying their finest ever run of form, Atleti are struggling in La Liga and find themselves falling off the pace in fifth, six points off the top having played one game more.

Danger men: Liverpool – Sadio Mane. Atletico – Joao Felix 

Liverpool chance of progression: 4/5 – Klopp will feel he can come away from his Madrid holyland with something to show, before using the European atmosphere of Anfield to get his side over the line and into the next round. Fixture congestion may be a worry for the Reds, however, with plenty of games to play between now and the first leg. 

Atletico are under-performing in La Liga but continue to be a resolute and dangerous side

Atletico are under-performing in La Liga but continue to be a resolute and dangerous side

Manchester City vs Real Madrid

Pep Guardiola no doubt took a large gulp as his Man City side came out of the pot with Real Madrid.

The former Barcelona man must now face his old foe once again, at what is one of the most testing times of his City career.

After looking to have fallen off the pace in the Premier League, the idea was floated that City should channel all their efforts into the Champions League and try to capture the trophy they crave most.

Manchester City crave the Champions League more than all other football honours

Manchester City crave the Champions League more than all other football honours

Nobody however has won the competition more times than Madrid, and they will certainly have something to say about it. Though they failed to dazzle in the group stages, Madrid still ensured their progression while also remained locked in the La Liga title race with rivals Barca. They sit locked at the top of the table on level points after 16 games played.

Momentum would take a huge surge for Guardiola and City if they can dispatch of Madrid, though the alternative outcome doesn’t bear thinking about. Potentially being out of a title race and Europe by early 2020 could have dire implications.

Danger men: Manchester City – Raheem Sterling. Real Madrid – Karim Benzema 

City chance of progression: 3/5 – The first leg will be huge for City, who will feel confident of seeing the tie through if a clean sheet is kept in the Bernabeu. Defensive woes have been a consistent theme this season however, which doesn’t dovetail well with the fact veteran striker Benzema happens to be in the form of his life. A huge second leg may be required by Guardiola’s men, though the Etihad is not always noted for conjuring up nights of European magic. That will have to change.

Real Madrid know the competition like the back of their hand and will be out to win it again

Real Madrid know the competition like the back of their hand and will be out to win it again

Chelsea vs Bayern Munich

This competition has the uncanny habit of serving up reunions, and in this tie we have a re-run of the 2012 final.

Bayern will of course be hoping to set the record straight, after having their hearts broken in their own back yard all those years ago.

Chelsea's youthful side made an impressive start to the season but have fallen off recently

Chelsea’s youthful side made an impressive start to the season but have fallen off recently

This time around it’s safe to say the Germans look like the stronger outfit, but in their respective leagues both find themselves in a similar positions.

Bayern started the campaign poorly and, after the sacking of Niko Kovac, sit in fifth place six points behind leaders Leipzig. It’s simply not good enough for a side who dominate the division year in, year out. 

Chelsea, despite their early surge in the league, recently appear to have struggled with a series of unexpected defeats, most prominently to West Ham and injury-sticken Bournemouth. Frank Lampard now faces his biggest test as a manager.

Danger men: Chelsea – Tammy Abraham. Bayern – Robert Lewandowski 

Chelsea chance of progression: 2/5 – It may be too much of an ask for the Blues to see this one through, though Lampard will feel his youthful squad have the potential to overturn the odds. A saving grace for the Blues may well be the January transfer window. Chelsea’s ban has been overturned, meaning Lampard may well be able to get some big names in at Stamford Bridge before locking horns with the Bavarian giants.

Bayern Munich have struggles of their own and a massively behind the pace in the Bundesliga

Bayern Munich have struggles of their own and a massively behind the pace in the Bundesliga

Tottenham vs Leipzig

Given that he is the man for the big occasion, Jose Mourinho will be licking his lips with the draw.

Tottenham fans may feel they have avoided a European powerhouse, but underestimating Leipzig may come at their peril. The Bundesliga outfit currently top the pile in Germany, and are keeping Bayern at an arms length expertly.

European specialist Jose Mourinho will feel like he has the edge going into the Leipzig clash

European specialist Jose Mourinho will feel like he has the edge going into the Leipzig clash

Nonetheless, the Spurs squad is stacked with talent and Mourinho knows how to navigate European ties better than most. A quiet resurgence has taken place since his arrival, though a final group game defeat to Bayern may well still linger in the mind.

Danger men: Tottenham – Harry Kane. RB Leipzig – Timo Werner

Tottenham chances of progression: 4/5 – Nothing of course is a certainty at Champions League level, but Spurs look best placed from the English teams to progress. They have a European titan of a manager at the helm, and have gleaned plenty of experience from their run last season. The pain will still be fresh for most of the players, and that will certainly help. 

Borussia Dortmund vs Paris Saint Germain

This one could well be the nail in the coffin for Thomas Tuchel. If PSG – widely tipped to win the competition in each of the last three seasons – fail to progress past the last 16 once again, it could be calamitous. 

Tuchel survived last season despite the French giants being dumped out by an inferior Manchester United, but he won’t be so lucky this time around. 

Thomas Tuchel needs his star-studded side to progress or his job could be on the line

Thomas Tuchel needs his star-studded side to progress or his job could be on the line

It is a cruel twist that his former club Dortmund could be the team to strike the fatal blow, but PSG will feel they have the taking of the Bundesliga side.

The talent comparison makes this a slight mismatch. When PSG’s assembled side of superstars are firing, they can be ruthless. This was shown against Real Madrid in the group stages, and the Parisians as ever are completely dominating in Ligue 1.

Dortmund sit third in the Bundesliga, four points off the pace. Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus have been showing flashes of brilliance, but consistency is desperately needed from the men in yellow.

Danger men: Dortmund – Jadon Sancho. PSG – Kylian Mbappe

When Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus click, Dortmund immediately fire into life and threaten

When Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus click, Dortmund immediately fire into life and threaten

Napoli vs Barcelona

This could well be two fixtures of beautiful, free-flowing football.

Both teams love to get the ball down and play, though Napoli have fallen off the boil in the last 18 months. The recent sacking of Carlo Ancelotti could either spark a bounce, or a decline.

New boss Gennaro Gattuso will be in the dug-out to face Barca, and his opposite number Ernesto Valverde will feel he can take the tie. 

Barcelona will feel a need to set the record straight after their exit last season

Barcelona will feel a need to set the record straight after their exit last season

Napoli gave a solid account of themselves in the group stages, getting yet another victory against holders Liverpool. In Serie A, however, they wallow pitifully in eighth. 

While Barca are setting the pace in La Liga, the Champions League provides an outlet for Napoli who have no hope of rejoining their domestic title race. 

Danger men: Napoli – Arkadiusz Milik. Barcelona – Lionel Messi 

Lyon vs Juventus

Italian giants Juve felt they under performed in last season’s competition, meaning they along with star signing Cristiano Ronaldo will be out to set the record straight.

Juve will feel they’ve been handed a free pass through to the next round, and it certainly be the upset of the competition so far if Lyon progress.

Cristiano Ronaldo feels he has a point to prove with his Champions League football at Juventus

Cristiano Ronaldo feels he has a point to prove with his Champions League football at Juventus

Though Juve are being pushed hard in Serie A this season by Inter Milan, the competition actually appears to be doing them some good. For too long they have coasted in the Italian top flight, and the complacency last season was apparent.

Ronaldo takes any and every opportunity to add to his mercurial Champions League goal tally, so expect the Portuguese talisman to smell blood as these fixtures come around.

Danger men: Juventus – Cristiano Ronaldo. Lyon – Memphis Depay 

Lyon are certainly the under dog but in Memphis Depay (left) they will hold on to some hope

Lyon are certainly the under dog but in Memphis Depay (left) they will hold on to some hope

Atalanta vs Valencia

An interesting tie for the football aficionados . Both these sides gave a good account of themselves in the group stages, and one of them will be rewarded with a place in the last eight.

Valencia built upon a strong run in last season’s Europa League, and showed Chelsea in the group stages during the current Champions League campaign that they are not to be taken lightly.

Atalanta, meanwhile, held Manchester City to a draw in Italy and capped off the group stages with a highly impressive 3-0 away victory against Shakhtar Donetsk. 

Unlike the rest of the teams in the last 16, neither of these sides are pushing for a title tilt in their domestic league. Atalanta sit in a healthy sixth position in Serie A, while Valencia are off the boil a little in La Liga and find themselves eighth.

The Champions League provides opportunity for both of these sides to show what they can do, and perhaps allow some of their star players to place themselves in the shop window.

Danger men: Atalanta – Ruslan Malinovskiy. Valencia – Carlos Soler 

KNOCKOUT STAGE CALENDAR

Tuesday February 18

Borussia Dortmund vs Paris Saint Germain

Atlético Madrid vs Liverpool Wednesday 

Wednesday February 19 

Atalanta vs Valencia

Tottenham vs RB Leipzig 

Tuesday February 25 

Napoli vs Barcelona 

Chelsea vs Bayern Munich 

Wednesday February 26 

Real Madrid vs Manchester City

Lyon vs Juventus

Tuesday March 10 

Valencia vs Atalanta 

RB Leipzig vs Tottenham 

Wednesday March 11

Paris Saint Germain vs Borussia Dortmund 

Liverpool vs Atlético Madrid 

Tuesday March 17 

Manchester City vs Real Madrid 

Juventus vs Lyon

Wednesday March 18 

Barcelona vs Napoli 

Bayern Munich vs Chelsea

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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