Champions League final set to give Liverpool confidence in Istanbul return

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What’s the one thing every Liverpool fan wants at the start of the season?The Premier League title, of course.

But that could all be about to change after Jurgen Klopp won his first national title in 30 years.

The desire to finally break the Premier League jinx has often dominated preseason ambitions, but that has changed a lot with the Premier League’s record success.

As Liverpool ultimately sealed a Premier League title, the Champions League round of 16 loss to Atletico Madrid has paled to a certain degree of insignificance.

But it does suggest that perceptions could change for the next campaign.

While retaining the Premier League would be fantastic, proving their European pedigree will be an important goal for Klopp and Liverpool.

Following Atletico Madrid’s early exit in March – and other unforeseen circumstances around the world – they were treated to a unique take on the Champions League.

Later today, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain will play in the final to ultimately determine a winner of the competition and this could provide further insight into Liverpool’s closest rivals in the Champions League next season.

Hansi Flick’s Bayern Munich probably pose one of the biggest challenges with talent on the pitch. The likes of Robert Lewandowski, Serge Gnabry and Alphonso Davies have all performed exceptionally this season with no sign of letting go any time soon.

PSG, meanwhile, present a slightly different proposition as a team that only recently broke their fear of the knockout football scene. Kylian Mbappe and Neymar may be the obvious stars, but Angel Di Maria and Marco Verratti will be just as important in ensuring future success.

As Liverpool beat both finalists this season in last year’s competition, these will be two sides the Reds will want to avoid heading into the decisive rounds of the 2020/21 campaign.

Liverpool’s placement at the top of European football requires them not to worry too much about who they are drawn against if, as expected, they make it through the group stages, but some teams will offer some fierce competition.

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Manchester City, for example, may not have won the competition or proven their European expertise, but the loss to Lyon will only increase Pep Guardiola’s desire for success.

The team they beat in the previous round, Real Madrid, could also be a team to watch given their continued progression with exciting young talent.

While the likes of Atalanta, Lyon and RB Leipzig have gone far in this season’s round of 16, it remains to be seen whether or not they will keep their teams together. Timo Werner, for example, has already left for Chelsea and Houssem Aouar is expected to leave Lyon this summer.

For Liverpool, the emergence of new footballing powers could mean a slight change in the landscape of next season’s competition. But the precarious positions of Barcelona and Juventus indicate that the Reds should not be so afraid of the previously dominant opposition.

There are many factors yet to be determined before the official start of the 2020/21 campaign, but Klopp should be confident to regain the club’s place at the top of European football.

Bayern Munich and PSG may represent two of the biggest threats at the moment, but the Reds will be determined to find success on the continent again.

If they are able to do just that, a Champions League final in Istanbul 16 years later this a famous evening will be on the program.

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