Champions League Semi Finals 2nd Leg build up

Ajax won their away game with 0-1, having a good starting position for Wednesday’s game. Still Tottenham will probably not resign their Champions League ambitions just yet. The same goes for Liverpool, though they have an even harder job to repair a 3-0 defeat against Barcelona on Anfield. How did the four teams perform last weekend in their national leagues and what does this tell us about the flow, pressure and state the teams are in?

Barcelona: b-squad luxury

It’s not often Barcelona loses 2-0 to Celta de Vigo. The fresh national champion had the luxury of giving the entire ‘a’ squad a day off last weekend, resulting in a rare loss but also in a fully rested and prepared Barcelona against Liverpool on Tuesday. There was a calamity that Valvarde wasn’t too happy about though: Ousmane Dembélé had to leave the field with a hamstring injury. We all know that usually takes some time to heal. Barcelona has a substitute on the left flank in Philippe Coutinho, but he isn’t undisputed. Thanks to the 3-0 lead against Liverpool, it is probably an injury that Barcelona can afford itself.

Liverpool: the best of the rest?

Meanwhile Liverpool is still fighting with everything they have on two fronts. The team has an impressive record in the Premier League as well as the Champion’s League but is in danger of falling an inch short on the finish line for both competitions. It would be a shame for the reds that deserve more. The length of the competition also starts to take its toll on Liverpool, though they won their last weekend’s match against Newcastle with 2-3, it was a struggle. Salah suffered an injury from a collision and had to be taken out, we do expect them to be there tomorrow. If Manchester City would be to lose points against Leicester City tonight, we expect a crazy atmosphere in Anfield and Liverpool to find renewed confidence.

Tottenham Hotspurs: transfer shortage shows its ugly face

Not spending a single pound on the transfer market and still reaching the semi finals of the Champions League and playing consistently in the top of the Premier League is an accomplishment in itself. There is however a limit in what you can reach with only 11-13 players that are good enough for this level, and those limits are really showing now. It’s not surprisingly Pochettino really started to address the need for new players this summer. With injuries and suspensions the Spurs have lost four out of their last 5 matches, ‘throwing away’ the hard work of the season in the last weeks simply because the team is exhausted and there are no replacements. After a 1-0 defeat last weekend (with Son taking a direct red card), Chelsea took over the 3rd position in the Premier League.

Ajax: still hungry

How different are things in Amsterdam. Ajax won the national cup last weekend winning 0-4 against Willem 2. It is their first prize of the season, but they are eager for more. The biggest contrast in comparison with Tottenham is that there are no signs of fatigue. The selection is broader and there are no injuries and no suspensions whatsoever. Ajax is in a flow and on a cloud. They have won the last five out of five.

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