An exciting two days of Champions League football threw up some interesting talking points as the men started pulling away from the boys. Here are three winners and three losers we picked from the elite European competition matches on Tuesday night and yesterday.
Following the very lofty standards he set last season, Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah was always going to have a challenge on his hands to live up to them. He has not had a poor campaign so far, but he has definitely been judged for failing to rise to the occasion as he so often did last year.
He scored two goals as Liverpool beat Crvena Zvezda last night, which followed another crucial strike in the Reds’ 1-0 win over Huddersfield last weekend. Those goals have now elevated him to 50 goals in just 65 matches for the Anfield club.
When the draw was made for this season’s Champions League group stage, Group C stood out as probably the toughest. Liverpool, Paris St. Germain and Napoli have definitely helped the group to live up to the hype. There have been some fierce contests so far and those have borne some interesting results. Liverpool beat PSG 3-2, Napoli scored a dramatic late winner to beat them 1-0, while the Parisians forced a late 2-2 draw against Napoli yesterday.
Jürgen Klopp’s side are now top of the group on six points, with Napoli and PSG second and third on five and four points respectively. This sets the group up beautifully for the second round of matches as the three teams avoid being the big name that will be knocked out of the group.
Borussia Dortmund’s incredible start to the season continued last night, as they turned on the style to beat Atletico Madrid 4-0. The performance and result are all the more impressive considering the fact that Diego Simeone’s side are famous for being one of the most defensively astute sides in Europe. The result left the Germans top of Group A and on the brink of qualification. Their eye can now shift to their weekend clash with Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga, where they are also top of the standings.
In a tough group that also contains Barcelona and Inter Milan, Tottenham had a good opportunity get closer to the top of the group with back-to-back matches against PSV Eindhoven. The first of those came last night, and Mauricio Pochettino’s side were well on course for a solid 2-1 win before Hugo Lloris lost his mind and was sent off with just over ten minutes to go. PSV managed to grab an equaliser in the 87th minute, which now leaves Spurs with a mountain to climb to get out of the group.
Valencia had a golden opportunity to put pressure on Group H pacesetters Juventus and Manchester United when they faced Young Boys in an earlier kick-off on Tuesday evening. Victory would have taken the Spanish side level with United on four points and just two shy of Juve. All seemed to be on course when Michy Batshuayi scored in the 26th minute, but the Swiss were awarded a penalty in the second half, which they scored and held out for a 1-1 draw.
United were quite underwhelming themselves in their 1-0 loss to Juventus and perhaps none more so than striker Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian only has four goals in 13 matches for the Red Devils this season and has now gone eight matches without a goal for his club. He has also done little to contribute positively in the build-up play and was once again out of sorts against the Old Lady on Tuesday night.