Thursday 21 November 2019

What time, what channel and our predictions for this week's Champions League games

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates against Genk
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates against Genk

We are reaching crunch point in the group stages of the Champions League and England's four representatives could all take a stride towards the last-16 this week:

TUESDAY

LIVERPOOL v GENK at 8pm - RTE2, Virgin Media Sport, BT Sport 3

Genk midfielder Sander Berge believes Liverpool have earned the right to be hailed as world-beaters, after he admitted his side were hammered 4-1 by Jurgen Klopp's European champions on home soil in the last round of Champions League fixtures.

"We played against the best team in the world," declared Berge. "At every loss of the ball by us they hurt us. We succeeded in stopping them a lot and were well organised, but when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scores goals like that, then it becomes tough. Liverpool are a team from a different level. Now we have to go to Anfield to play them and it is the ultimate challenge in football right now."

One to watch: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool)

After two sensational goals in the first meeting between these two sides, expect Klopp to give 'The Ox' another run-out and he will be keen to cement his place in the Liverpool line-up.

Verdict: Another comfortable Liverpool victory.

CHELSEA v AJAX at 8pm - Virgin Media 2, BT Sport 2

Ajax forward Quincy Promes admits his side were not at their best as they conceded a late goal to lose 1-0 against Chelsea in Amsterdam last month, with last season's Champions League semi-finalists are setting their sights on revenge at Stamford Bridge.

"We were sloppy on the ball and had difficulty in retaining possession for long," said Promes, who had a goal disallowed by a VAR decision in the first half against Chelsea. "We didn't really create too many chances. And, of course, it was extra painful to concede so late in the game."

One to watch: Hakim Ziyech (Ajax)

This Moroccan midfielder has been in sensational form for Ajax this season and he will be scoring threat from midfield that Chelsea will need to silence.

Verdict: A draw may suit both sides.

WEDNESDAY

RED STAR BELGRADE v TOTTENHAM at 8pm - Virgin Media Sport, BT Sport 2

Tottenham's emphatic demolition of Red Star in north London two weeks ago will fuel their belief heading into this game, as Mauricio Pochettino's side chase a win that will push them a giant step closer to the last-16 and their opponents will head into this game with the criticism of their coach Vladan Milojevic ringing in their ears after he suggested they need to respond on home soil.

"Players should take more responsibilities in games like this and step up," he said ahead of Tottenham's visit to Serbia. "We expect a full stadium at home which raises our self-confidence which in this game we were lacking."

One to watch: Dele Alli (Tottenham)

Alli has shown signs of a return to form in recent weeks and he could be crucial to Tottenham as they continue to stagger through this season.

Verdict: Spurs to get an away win, but not in convincing fashion.

ATALANTA v MANCHESTER CITY at 8pm - Virgin Media Sport Extra 1, BT Sport 3

City's serene progress to the knock-out stages of the Champions League is predictable in a weak group and Pep Guardiola's men will be through with two games to spare if they win this game in Italy.

Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini conceded his side were outclassed as they lost 5-1 at the Etihad Stadium, despite taking a shock early lead: "My players did some good things, which we can build on. We could have scored more goals. Of course, City are devastating with some space and we maybe give them too many."

One to watch: Raheem Sterling (Man City)

Strangely overlooked for the highest-profile Player of the Year awards in 2019, Sterling served up another quite sensational hat-trick destroying Atalanta in the first game between these two sides.

Verdict: City can afford to rest players ahead of their clash with Liverpool on Sunday and still win with ease.

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