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GUARDIAN – Champions League review: Liverpool’s lost identity and Benfica’s curse

We look at some of the major talking points from the final round of group games, as well as the best images and statisticsCongratulations are in order to all the teams who have qualified for the knockout stages but the celebrations of the ones who finished second may be cut short if any of them are masochistic enough to recall the brutal nature of last season’s round of 16, when eight mostly drama-free ties made a mockery of the idea of the Champions League as a tournament that permits the underdog to have its day. To recap, the aggregate score was 38-13 in favour of the group winners and the only contest that resembled a fair fight was when Olympiakos went toe-to-toe with Manchester United, which may have had something to do with the identity of the English side’s manager. Even then, despite losing the first leg 2-0 in Greece, United still progressed thanks to Robin van Persie’s hat-trick at Old Trafford, briefly giving David Moyes some welcome respite.17 – Chelsea have now scored more goals than any other side in the Champions League this season. Heavyweight.Group C saw its contenders finish exactly opposite as they were drawn, with Benfica last, Zenit third, Leverkusen second and Monaco first.Arsenal: Only Shakhtar Donetsk (23%) have a better conversion rate in the Champions League this season than Arsenal (21.4%) #afc Continue reading…

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