Keeping an eye on rival teams could be key for AC Milan, as they seek to make it through the Champions League group stages. Drawn alongside a very tough trio of teams, the squad, led by Stefano Pioli, faces an almighty challenge. To progress, the Rossoneri must be within the top two of a group featuring the likes of Liverpool, Atletico Madrid, and FC Porto.
That will surely be no easy task, although Milan will always battle to get the results they need, in order to reach the knockout phase of this prestigious continental competition. But how are their European opponents faring in their own domestic competitions?
English Premier League
Last season was a hugely frustrating campaign for Liverpool, who finished well below their expectations. Nevertheless, the Reds are now considered to be genuine title challengers, according to the latest English Premier League betting with Betfair, having made a flying start to the 2021-2022 season. They’re currently third-favorites, staked at 7/2 odds to take the crown.
Jurgen Klopp has guided his team to four wins and just one draw in five games, therefore many pundits are predicting a season of success for Liverpool. After beating Milan 3-2 in a thrilling encounter at Anfield recently, the only question is whether they can maintain this positive form on both domestic and European fronts.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) September 18, 2021
Spanish La Liga
Real Madrid and Barcelona are the habitual favorites with the majority of bookmakers, yet both clubs appear to be undergoing a significant period of transition. This has left the door open for Atletico Madrid to make their presence felt, with the side led by Diego Simeone stealing a march on their rivals last season, going on to win La Liga.
While both Real Madrid and Barcelona are now much weaker, compared to last season, this presents Atletico Madrid with an ideal opportunity to defend their title. Although they have made an unbeaten start to the 2021-2022 campaign, Simeone’s men appear to have done so without looking entirely convincing, with three narrow victories and two draws.
FT in Madrid as the game ends 0-0. pic.twitter.com/5S4SBJNZX2
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) September 18, 2021
Portuguese Primeira Liga
FC Porto lost just two games in the Portuguese Primeira Liga last season, finishing five points behind Sporting CP who lost just once. Head coach Sergio Conceicao will be keen to set the record straight, and he boasts a marvelous record at the club, having led the team to win 71.36% of their games under his leadership.
— FC Porto (@FCPorto) September 12, 2021
Nevertheless, it’s Benfica who have made the best start in Portugal, winning all five of their opening league games. Meanwhile, both FC Porto and reigning champions Sporting CP have struggled to get going. Although both remain unbeaten, they have also struggled to beat relatively modest opponents, each winning three while drawing two of their first five games.
The key to all four teams could be based around carefully managing their commitments, with attention divided by domestic and European ambitions. Milan has made a largely positive start to their 2021-2022 Serie A campaign, yet it seems difficult to imagine the current side going all the way in the Champions League.
Milan will undoubtedly compete with everything they have in Europe, although the priority this term will surely be winning Serie A, then to continue developing the squad.
Realistically, that will probably be the best approach for Pioli and the club, as they aim to continue taking positive steps forward and make progress each season.