Rio Ferdinand has backed Bayern Munich to retain the Champions League but expects England sides to venture far into the round of 16.
Liverpool, who won the trophy in 2019, are joined by 2012 winners Chelsea and Manchester City, who are still awaiting their first Champions League title after being knocked out in the quarter-finals for the past three years.
They will not, however, be joined by the two-time winner Manchester United following their loss to RB Leipzig on Tuesday who saw them eliminated in the group stage.
Rio Ferdinand backed Bayern Munich to retain Champions League crown
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City both qualified
And while jokingly suggesting that he managed to get some sleep following his former club’s exit, Ferdinand insists last season’s three-time winners Hansi Flick remain the team most likely to be win the Champions League in 2020-2021.
“I put the Bayern Munich favorites but I would have Liverpool close the second favorites,” Ferdinand told BT Sport.
“It’s great to see great teams there, the English are there, except Manchester United, in a disappointing way. “
Asked by presenter Gary Lineker what he still thought of United’s elimination, Ferdinand continued with a wry retort: “Devastated, I haven’t slept, look at the bags in front of me.
But Scott McTominay and Manchester United were eliminated from the competition on Tuesday
Bruno Fernandes couldn’t prevent United’s loss to RB Leipzig and their subsequent elimination
But I think the English teams will go deep into the tournament, I think they have real quality, Bayern and maybe PSG are the only threats.
‘If they [Bayern] have no injuries, I think they will go on and do it again, with the experience they have in this team and the explosiveness they have in the wide areas.
Frank Lampard’s Chelsea have only won the competition once – when he was a player – but have looked in excellent form this season and dominated Group E.
Ferdinand joked he didn’t get any sleep due to United’s exit but backed Bayern to win the trophy
Former defender Ferdinand has admitted the Blues may well be contenders after spending £ 220million on transfers this summer, but their chances will need to be reassessed once the round of 16 begin in 2021.
When asked if Chelsea could be a dark horse, Ferdinand added: “They could be. It’s a team that’s starting to gel together, you can see Frank has done some pretty good business so far in the transfer market.
“Go through Christmas and New Years and see how the team is preparing in terms of injuries and form.
“When the Champions League resumes, we will have to review our expectations for some teams because form and injuries play a big role. “
Ferdinand also said Frank Lampard’s Chelsea could be a dark horse for the crown