Can Sturridge continue his hot streak in Naples? – 5 Champions League talking points

2 October 2018

Seldom can the Premier League’s four Champions League representatives have approached another week of continental fixtures gripped by such contrasting fortunes.


While Manchester City and Liverpool sail into a new week in confident mood, Tottenham are still yet to entirely convince while Manchester United’s crisis shows no signs of abating.

Here, Press Association Sport runs the rule over what we might expect from a fascinating midweek of fixtures.

 

City Need a Response

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Tuesday, April 10, 2018: Pep Guardiola manager of Manchester City reacts as the half time whistle is blown during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by Peter Powell/Propaganda)

Sergio Aguero is a doubt for City’s trip to Hoffenheim after limping out of the weekend win over Brighton with a foot injury.

But the broader question concerns how Pep Guardiola’s men will bounce back from their shock 2-1 home defeat to Lyon in their Group F opener.

A clinical performance against relatively low-key German opposition—especially without one of their biggest names—would underline their intent.

 

More Misery for Mourinho?

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 7, 2018: Manchester United's manager Jose Mourinho looks miserable before the FA Premier League match between Manchester City FC and Manchester United FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A cacophony of talking points rage around United ahead of their Group H clash with Valencia.

A repeat of the calamitous performance at West Ham on Saturday will heap more pressure on Jose Mourinho and, after his bizarre three-man defensive lineup against the Hammers, all eyes will be on his team selection—not to mention the body language of Paul Pogba.

 

Messi Fresh for Tottenham Trip

LONDON, ENGLAND - Tuesday, February 23, 2016: Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring the first goal against Arsenal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg match at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by Kirsten Holst/Propaganda)

Spurs’ recent revival will be put to the test against a Barcelona side under intense pressure of their own.

Ernesto Valverde’s men have gone an unthinkable three LaLiga games without a win but will bring back Lionel Messi, who was rested for the weekend draw at Athletic Bilbao.

Without the injured Dele Alli, Spurs’ hopes of an upset look minimal, but a conclusive result either way could shape both of these sides’ seasons.

 

Sturridge to Continue Hot Streak?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, September 26, 2018: Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge celebrates scoring the first goal during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The re-emergence of Daniel Sturridge continues apace after he built on his goal against Paris Saint-Germain with a spectacular late equaliser at Chelsea on Saturday.

Jurgen Klopp may have been slow to warm to the injury-prone striker and it will be interesting to see the extent of his role against a Napoli side who were heavily criticised by boss Carlo Ancelotti following their weekend loss to Juventus.

 

PSG Need to Make Presence Felt

Neymar Jr ( PSG ) - Kylian Mbappe ( PSG ) FOOTBALL : Paris Saint Germain vs Angers SCO - Ligue 1 - Paris - 25/08/2018 FedericoPestellini/Panoramic.

They may be able to ease through Ligue 1 without breaking sweat, but moneybags PSG—with Neymar, Mbappe et al—can ill afford another Champions League slip-up after their opening group-stage loss to the Reds.

Anything less than failure to win a relatively routine assignment with Red Star Belgrade could leave new coach Thomas Tuchel facing some tough questions.

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