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Champions League preview: Liverpool begin title defence

17 September 2019

The Champions League returns for another season of non-stop drama and intrigue.

Defending champions Liverpool will kick off their attempts to reclaim the title against SSC Napoli at the San Paolo Stadium.

Liverpool may have gone all the way last year but did come unstuck at Napoli in the group stages, courtesy of the last minute Lorenzo Insigne strike.

Despite the defeat Liverpool went onto win a sixth Champions League with Napoli finishing in an unlucky third place in the group.

Dortmund vs FC Barcelona

There’s a huge contest taking place in group F where FC Barcelona head to Borussia Dortmund.

Both sides have reached the final of the competition in the last six years and are two of Europe’s giant clubs.

The encounter takes place at Signal Iduna Park, a place Barça haven’t visited since 1997 in the UEFA Super Cup.

Barça drew 1-1 in the first leg before winning 2-0 at home against the defending European champions.

Ernesto Valverde’s men have one clear task, go beyond the semi-finals and win the competition for the first time since 2015.

Chelsea vs Valencia CF

Chelsea are back in Europe’s top competition after a year absence.

The Blues won the Europa League last season and head back into the Champions League with a home clash against Valencia CF.

The side last met in the competition back in the 2011 group stages where Chelsea cruised to a 3-0 home victory.

The pair also met in 2007 quarter-finals when a last minute goal from Michael Essien secured Chelsea’s path into the last four.

Valencia were knocked out of the group stages in last season’s competition and will be hoping to progress in a group including Ajax and Lille.

Inter vs Slavia Prague

The Serie A early leaders, Inter have enjoyed the perfect start under Antonio Conte.

Three wins from the first three brings Inter to the Champions League in red-hot form and with Romelu Lukaku leading the line.

It was a disappointing Champions League campaign last season for Nerazzurri, coming third in the group and dropping into the Europa League.

Inter’s group this season looks similarly tricky, with FC Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund competing for just two places in the last 16.