Champions League preview: Liverpool, Spurs face giants

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The Champions League could have 15 of 16 knockout round berths decided by the conclusion of Wednesday’s matches, though Tottenham Hotspur is certainly hoping that’s not the case.

Spurs host Inter Milan in a must-win match at Wembley Stadium, having lost at the San Siro on the second match day. Spurs are three points behind Inter in Group B, six behind Barcelona, and the first tiebreaker is head-to-head results.

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Mauricio Pochettino is striking all the right notes as Spurs hope to build on a masterful victory over Chelsea on Saturday. From Spurs’ official site:

“The most important thing is to try to replicate the same performance and attitude that we had against Chelsea. We have no excuse not to behave or perform in the same way and with the same attitude.

“We know very well that it’s not easy to play every single game in your best way but with the right attitude, everything is possible. It should be a good example to keep going, to be consistent and it’s clear that playing that way we can achieve the things we want.”

Liverpool cannot be eliminated on Wednesday, but Jurgen Klopp‘s men can advance to the knockout rounds with a defeat of Paris Saint-Germain.

Yet a win is doubly important at the Parc des Princes; Not only would it mean that PSG cannot catch the Reds in Group C, it would open the door to equal footing with Manchester United the next match week.

The Red Devils head to Anfield on Dec. 16, four days after their final group stage match, but Manchester United knows it’s on to the next round and could only win Group H with a win and an unlikely Juventus loss to Young Boys in Switzerland.

Liverpool will have something big to play for in its midweek match against Napoli. It’ll either be for Group H, or the second spot in the group. But the former is obviously preferable to the latter, and Klopp may prioritize the league to being a seeded team for the knockout rounds.

Then again, there’s little need for motivation. This is the Champions League, in Paris, against star-studded PSG. Here is Klopp:

“We are here, we didn’t ever think negatively about it, we were looking forward to the game in Paris. We don’t play here very often and it’s a big task. It’s just really exciting and the more difficult it is, the more I enjoy the preparation because you have to think about pretty much everything: how to defend this and that, how to avoid this and that, and how to play football yourself because that’s the most important thing.

“It is a thing Paris is not used to that much in the league because they are so dominant – we have to make sure that they are not that dominant against us. When we have our possession we [have to] do something smart with that. That’s all in two training sessions, actually one, today. The weather was not too good in Liverpool but the boys were 100 per cent focused for 60, 70 minutes on the pitch, fully concentrated and hopefully you can see that tomorrow night.”

Full Wednesday slate

Lokomotiv Moscow vs. Galatasaray — 12:55 p.m. ET
Atletico Madrid vs. AS Monaco — 12:55 p.m. ET
Borussia Dortmund vs. Club Brugge — 3 p.m. ET
PSG vs. Liverpool — 3 p.m. ET
Napoli vs. Red Star Belgrade — 3 p.m. ET
PSV Eindhoven vs. Barcelona — 3 p.m. ET
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Inter Milan — 3 p.m. ET
Porto vs. Schalke — 3 p.m. ET