The 2019/20 Champions League was far from successful for English clubs with no side going further than Manchester City, who were knocked out at the quarter-final stage. But with all the English clubs strengthening during the transfer window ahead of the new European campaign, there is renewed confidence.

Here is a look at how Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and City could fare in the 2020/21 edition of club football's greatest show...

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The Premier League champions have added depth to their squad this season with the arrivals of Diogo Jota, Thiago Alcantara and Konstantinos Tsimikas all likely to play a major part in their Champions League campaign.

Thiago brings with him Champions League-winning experience, while bolstering their attacking firepower with someone of Diogo Jota's calibre looks a step forward as Liverpool aim to replicate their 2018/19 Champions League success.

Thiago brings additional Champions League-winning experience to Liverpool

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However their defensive frailties were ruthlessly exposed against Napoli in the group stage and against Atletico Madrid in the last-16 last season. Klopp might need to be more creative when facing Europe's elite who will feel they already know how the Merseyside club operate and will play with more confidence than a mid-level Premier League club.

With an already-congested fixture list, new options off the bench will be important.

Combined with the fact most of this squad were there when they last won it means the Merseyside club should go far, if they can safely navigate past teams who thrive on the counter-attack.

Stage knocked out 19/20: Round of 16 vs Atletico Madrid (4-2 on aggregate)

Prediction: Final

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Manchester City

The pressure is on Pep Guardiola. It is no secret that City are desperate to win the Champions League, but under the Spaniard they have been knocked out three years in a row at the quarter-final stage.

So what is to say the exact same thing will not happen again this season? Well, their aspirations could well hinge on their shiny new 23-year-old defender Ruben Dias. The expectation is for him to be the leader at the back, maybe even their new Vincent Kompany.

"We know Ruben Dias' personality and I am sure he will be an incredible player for the next six or seven years," Guardiola said after Dias' £64m arrival from Benfica.

Is Ruben Dias the solution to Manchester City's defensive problems?

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If he quickly adapts to Guardiola's specialist style of play and to his teammates then he could provide City with the defensive grit they need to smash through this Champions League obstacle. A lot also depends on their 35-year-old first-choice defensive midfielder Fernandinho keeping fit.

But if the Portugal international proves to be underwhelming then winning the most prestigious competition in club football looks a stretch as there is not great depth to their backline.

Stage knocked out 19/20: Quarter-final vs Lyon (3-1)

Prediction: Quarter-finals

Manchester United

Remember in March 2019 the euphoria when United fans kept saying 'Ole's at the wheel' after United beat Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League round-of-16 stage all because of a controversial handball? Well, that was quite a long time ago now and they were then dismantled 4-0 on aggregate by Barcelona in the quarters.

Their 19/20 Europa League campaign was far from spectacular as they were thoroughly outclassed by Sevilla at the semi-final stage. With United's current European stature seemingly boiled down to a simple pot number (2) - below the Europa League winners (1) - it is a long road back to the top of European football.

Sevilla proved too much for Manchester United in the Europa League last season

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It is hard to see beyond United's glaring defensive issues entering the 20/21 Champions League, but some last-minute signings at centre-back and left-back could see them scrape through to the knockouts in second place because their attack is very good.

Stage knocked out 19/20: N/A

Prediction: Round of 16


It's make-or-break for Frank Lampard. Why has Roman Abramovich invested £222m this transfer window - around £64m more than when he revamped the London club in 2003? To win the Champions League of course.

This feels like a last hurrah from Abramovich. The historically trigger-happy Russian will undoubtedly want a return on his investment. Any signs of group-stage floundering from the former Derby County boss could cost him his job before Christmas - no matter how much the former Blues midfielder is adored by Chelsea fans.

Roman Abramovich will be watching Chelsea's Champions League campaign very closely having spent £222m on players this transfer window

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They have the squad to go deep but whether they can be quickly gelled into a cohesive, trophy-winning unit is what Lampard will ultimately be judged on this season.

One win in their opening three Premier League games and a Carabao Cup last-16 defeat to London rivals Tottenham has made for a disappointing start to their domestic campaign.

A 7-1 aggregate defeat to Bayern at the Champions League round-of-16 stage cannot have gone down well with Chelsea's board and, this time around, there is no transfer embargo for the 42-year-old to hide behind.

Stage knocked out 19/20: Round of 16 vs Bayern Munich (7-1 on aggregate)

Prediction: Group stages

Champions League Group stage dates

  • Matchday 1: October 20/21
  • Matchday 2: October 27/28
  • Matchday 3: November 3/4
  • Matchday 4: November 24/25
  • Matchday 5: December 1/2
  • Matchday 6: December 8/9

Final: Saturday, May 29, 2020

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