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Champions League returns... Man City still obsessed but Liverpool, Tottenham and Man Utd have other priorities

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Yet since Chelsea’s improbable Champions League triumph in 2012, Premier League clubs have been unable to turn their economic power into success on the pitch in Europe’s elite competition.

As the Champions League returns this week, all four English representatives in the last 16 are in rude health, with Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham in a three-way fight for the title and Manchester United reborn under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

English football’s financial dominance of Europe was underlined last month when Tottenham — without silverware for over a decade — leapfrogged Juventus, who are on course for an eighth successive Serie A title, in Deloitte’s Football Money League.

But the quartet lack an air of authority in Europe, and this year’s last 16 seems to be divided into clubs obsessed by winning the competition, like City, and clubs with different priorities, arguably including Liverpool, Spurs and United.

City and Liverpool — who face German opposition in Schalke and Bayern Munich respectively — are among the competition favourites despite their unconvincing performances in the group stage and their progress could have a significant bearing on the high-octane race for the League title.

For City, there is no single priority and winning the Champions League has become an obsession for Pep Guardiola and the club’s owners.

Real are firm favourites against Ajax, but city rivals Atletico Madrid, who face Juve, will be among the clubs who sense an opportunity to break their stranglehold.
For more news relating to Chelsea, visit our sister site Chelsea Live.
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