Football  News & Hospitality Updates

New Petition Calls for Fans to Return to Stadiums

Thousands are backing a new petition pleading for the government to reassess the return of football fans in stadiums.

It was a significant blow for football fans, as well as the EFL and Premier League, as Boris Johnson confirmed that a return to stadiums from 1st October would no longer be possible. The government indicated that it could potentially be another six months before fans could return to stadiums as a result of ongoing COVID-19 concerns.

The petition follows the Premier League’s open letter to the Prime Minister calling for the safe return of fans to stadiums as soon as possible to avoid further financial distress.

The Premier League’s urge appears to have become a catalyst for change as the new campaign to ‘let fans in’ has resonated significantly within the football community and across social media.

Take a look as we delve into the specifics of the ‘let fans in’ stadiums petition as well as the Premier League’s appeal to the government.

What does the ‘let fans in’ petition entail?

The ‘let fans in’ petition pleas for football fans to attend matches at all levels. Currently, EFL and Premier League games for the 2020/21 are being played behind closed doors, and footballing bodies are asking for change.

The Premier League has anticipated that it will lose £500 million as a result of COVID-19. The government’s decision to delay fans in stadiums is having a devastating impact financially, as well as fans who are desperate to cheer on their teams once again.

The ‘let fans in’ petition, was created by Ashley Greenwood. He outlined how football is a powerful tool which keeps many people in employment as well as the other range of benefits it can bring, such as morale and wellbeing. The main concern is that smaller clubs will go out of business, which will have a disastrous effect on many people.  

The government’s decision not to allow fans back in stadiums from 1st October was met with heavy frustration, given that several successful EFL pilot matches took place just one week previously.

As a result, football fans are growing frustrated over inconsistencies within government policies. In particular, the decision to allow 3,000 audience members to a Christmas event at the Royal Albert Hall was met with both anger and confusion.

What was said in the Premier League’s open letter?

The Premier League’s recent open letter to the Prime Minister was signed by chief executive Richard Masters, EFL chief executive David Baldwin, FA chief executive Mark Bullingham and FA director of the women’s game, Kelly Simmons.

The letter acknowledged how football is not the same when fans are not involved, with the teams lacking the connection and impact that only their supporters can bring.  

In response to the government allowing audiences at indoor venues, they accepted that it is substantial progress that cultural events can be conducted indoors in a socially-distance manner. However, they have argued that football should now be allowed to do the same, with football stadiums more than able to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

It was highlighted how outdoor venues such as football stadiums are more likely to be safer than the currently allowed indoor events. In the letter, they confirmed their dedication to making stadiums as COVID-secure as possible. Some of the measures that would be followed include:

  • Screening fans before they enter the stadium
  • Temperature checks
  • Masks to be worn at all times
  • One-way systems in the stadium
  • Deep cleaning practices
  • Matchday code of conduct

The letter was concluded by stating their determination to bring fans back to stadiums as soon as possible and working with the government to identify a pathway forward.

How will ‘let fans in’ petition progress?

It is a requirement for a petition to receive 100,000 signatures to be eligible for discussion within the House of Commons. At the time of writing the petition to let fans in has surpassed 160,000 so is now entitled to consideration.

We will closely follow the developments of this petition to let fans back into stadiums and will update this space once more information is available.

With so many backing the ‘let fans in’ campaign; hopefully, it won’t be too much longer before we see the safe return of fans to stadiums.

An empty stadium is a loss on so many levels. In addition to the financial implications, an empty stadium lacks the passion, atmosphere and joy that can only be ignited when fans gather together.

We cannot wait for the day when we can once again unite and return to enjoying the sport we all love.

To sign the petition, please click here. 

 

Pause on Fans Returning to Stadiums From 1st October

The rapid rise in COVID-19 cases has paused developments of fans returning to stadiums from 1st October. Cabinet Minister, Michael Gove, confirmed last week that an October return would not go ahead as anticipated, stating that a mass return ‘would not be appropriate at this stage’.

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s optimistic plans for a return to stadiums from 1st October was first revealed last July, providing a glimmer of hope amongst sports fans.

An imminent return of fans to stadiums began to seem doubtful as August saw multiple pilot events cancelled as a result of advancing COVID-19 fears. The government eventually stated earlier this month that plans for a return would be placed under review.

The disappointing news follows recently introduced tighter government restrictions, such as the ‘rule of six’ and 10 pm curfews. As COVID-19 concerns continue to evolve, what will the future be for fans and sporting events?

When will fans return to stadiums?

Given the rise in coronavirus fears, it is currently unclear as to when fans will be able to return to stadiums. However, Boris Johnson revealed that the restrictions could be in place for 6 months. The COVID-19 alert level has advanced to level 4, which is described as ‘high or rising exponentially’. Gove stated that the increasing number of COVID-19 cases means that the programme must be paused for now.

Gove declared that the future of sporting events must be evaluated with caution, whilst also recognising sport to be a vital part of our nation. ‘We’re looking at everything we can do to support our athletes, our great clubs, through what will be a challenging time.’

It was initially anticipated that stadiums could return to 30% capacity from 1st October. As the UK began to see a spike in COVID-19 cases, there were talks that capacity could be reduced to just 1,000 fans. MP Steve Brine has now said that it is unlikely that fans will return until the beginning of 2021 as a result of ‘stats going in the wrong direction’. Brine stated that although the sport is very much loved, it is ‘not essential’ and sacrifices have to be made this year.

The decision to delay the return of fans to stadiums has certainly encouraged mixed feelings amongst the British public. Many argued that the return of fans would be a threat to health and safety. On the contrary, West Ham chief, Karren Brady believes that just 1,000 fans in Premier League stadiums would be ‘safer than your living room’.  

Will pilot events still go ahead?

It has been confirmed that the pilot events programme will also be paused as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

The news is particularly disappointing for football fans, given that last weekend saw eight EFL matches take place, each with 1,000 fans in attendance.

Although it had been declared that the return date of 1st October was under review, the EFL pilot scheme provided some much-needed optimism for football fans. The pilot matches were a step in the right direction and indicated that an imminent phased return could be possible.

The government made clear that fans returning to stadiums would only go ahead following a run of successful pilot events. Fans will be eagerly waiting for pilot events to resume, so that progressions for the return of fans can continue once again.

How has COVID-19 impacted the Premier League?

Naturally, the biggest concern amongst the sporting and hospitality industry is the financial loss that COVID-19 has inflicted. Clubs have been asked to forecast what economic impact the absence of fans in stadiums will have on their business.

EFL Chairman, Rick Parry, stated how EFL clubs face losing £25 million for every month that matches are played behind closed doors. Similarly, Premier League clubs will likely lose around £100 million each month if fans are unable to return to stadiums.

MP Steve Brine has stated that the government will look to support lower-level football but not Premier League clubs that pay stars £600,000-a-week.

Julian Knight, chair of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) stated how fans being unable to return to stadiums could decimate the nation’s sporting and cultural infrastructure. He called for smart solutions to be implemented to allow sports and live events to reopen gradually.

Unsurprisingly, the world of football is very frustrated by the government’s decision to pause the return to stadiums as planned. Clubs were working towards a return from 1st October as indicated, only for the government to pull back at the last minute. As a result, the Premier League clubs are set to meet this week to discuss the cash crisis as a result of fans being unable to return to stadiums. The Premier League are said to continue to press the government for a new estimated date as well as an ‘at the latest’ date for when fans can return.

The delay of fans returning to stadiums is a substantial disappointment to both sports fans and the sporting industry as a whole. Once again, the nation faces a time of uncertainty, as it remains unclear how and when the situation will improve.

Once the day in which it is safe to gather at sporting venues arrives, we will be there to provide you with exquisite hospitality experiences once again.

 

EFL Confirm Pilot Matches to Trial Return of Fans to Stadiums

Hope is on the horizon as EFL confirm eight pilot matches to test whether return of fans to stadiums can be conducted in a COVID-secure manner.

Top 10 Premier League Summer Transfers

Football excitement reaches fever pitch with the start of the 2020/21 Premier League season!

The Premier League 2020/21 season is well underway and we’ve been thinking about some of the most exciting transfers to take place during football’s summer transfer window.

Headlines were full of major Premier League transfer rumours, with big football names and even bigger transfer fees being discussed! Below we have ranked our top 10 Premier League transfers that have taken place during the summer transfer window in 2020:

NUMBER 1: Gareth Bale (loan) – Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs fans were absolutely thrilled when Tottenham confirmed that former Spurs legend, Gareth Bale would transfer to Tottenham on loan! Following a difficult period with Real Madrid and reports of clashes with Zinedine Zidane, Bale looked thrilled to be returning to London once again. It’s been confirmed that the 31-year-old will join Spurs on a season-long loan but there are rumours that the move could end up being permanent. With an impressive career already behind him, it’s hoped that Bale will provide the extra boost that Spurs require this season.

Previous Club: Real Madrid
Transfer fee: £13m(season-long loan)

NUMBER 2: Thiago Alcantara – Liverpool

Liverpool confirmed that central midfielder, Thiago Alcantara, would transfer to over to The Reds on a four-year contract. The 29-year-old signed for a £27.3 million fee, which Liverpool was said to be reluctant to agree to. However, The Reds clearly believed that he was worth the money! Manchester United was also said to have been interested in Alcantara but never placed a bid. It’s been reported that Alcantara was always keen to join Liverpool and we can’t wait to see what he brings to the team. Can Thiago help Liverpool become Premier League champions once again?

Previous Club: Bayern Munich
Transfer Fee: £27.3 million

NUMBER 3: Thiago Silva  – Chelsea

Central Defender, Thiago Silva, has joined The Blues on a one year deal, with options to extend to a second year. Silva is considered to be the best defender of his generation and has an incredibly impressive football career behind him thus far. Silva is undoubtedly a significant addition for Chelsea and it will be interesting to see how he impacts the team this season.

Previous Club: Paris Saint-Germaine
Transfer Fee: Free

NUMBER 4: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – Tottenham Hotspur

Hojbjerg was the first big transfer to be confirmed by Spurs during the summer transfer window. Manager, Jose Mourinho was to be looking to overhaul the team in a bid to take on the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City. The Danish footballer agreed to a 5-year contract with Spurs. The midfielder said he could see himself remaining with a club like Spurs for the long-term. Here’s hoping that with Hojberg on board, the team will work their way up the Premier League table!

Previous Club: Southampton
Transfer Fee: £15m


NUMBER 5:
Allan – Everton

29 year old, Allan, signed a three year deal with The Toffees, becoming reunited with former Napoli manager, Carlo Ancelotti. It is said that Ancelotti’s priority for this season was to strengthen Everton’s midfield. It will be interesting to see how the arrival of a player like Allan will impact Everton going forward. Could he help The Toffees enter into a top spot within the Premier League?

Previous Club: Napoli
Transfer Fee: £21.7m

NUMBER 6: Donny van de Beek – Manchester United

Manchester United have been incredibly cautious during the Premier League summer transfer window. It was rumoured that United had sights on the likes of Gareth Bale and Thiago Alcantara but the Red Devils remained quiet. One of the few transfers they have made involved a £35 million deal with Ajax’s Donny van de Beek. How will the midfielder perform as part of the Red Devils this season?

Previous Club: Ajax
Transfer Fee: £35m


NUMBER 7:
Wilian – Arsenal

Wilian signed a three year deal with The Gunners, having spent 7 years at Chelsea. The Blues had attempted to keep the midfielder but were unable to rival Arsenal’s offer. Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, believes that Wilian can really make his mark at Emirates Stadium and we certainly look forward to seeing the results during this new Premier League season!

Previous Club: Chelsea
Transfer Fee: Free

NUMBER 8: Emiliano Martinez – Aston Villa

Emiliano Martinez signed a four-year contract with the Villa for around £20m. Villa’s head coach, Dean Smith revealed his excitement of the transfer and acknowledged how highly Arsenal thought of Martinez. He referred to him as a ‘world-class goalkeeper who has yet to reach his peak’. This is definitely an exciting time for the claret and blues! Will they be able to make more of an impact in the Premier League this season?

Previous Club: Arsenal
Transfer Fee: £20m

NUMBER 9: Kai Havertz – Cheslea

21-year-old Kai Havertz signed a five year deal with Chelsea for a whopping £71 million. Although very young, Havertz has been making waves at Bayer Leverkusen and has become Chelsea second most expensive transfer, with  Kepa Arrizabalaga being the first. Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia labelled Havertz as the best player in the world for his age. We can’t wait to see how he performs in the Premier League this season!

Previous Club: Bayer Leverkusen
Transfer Fee: £71m

NUMBER 10: Nathan Ake – Manchester City

Dutch footballer, Nathan Ake, signed a five year deal with The Sky Blues for an estimated £41 million. The 25-year-old has said that joining Man City is a dream move for him and is keen to put in the work. Can Ake help Man City reclaim the Premier League title this season?

Previous Club: AFC Bournemouth
Transfer Fee: £41m

Chelsea Transfer News: Messi, Havertz, Silva, Chilwell

It’s that exciting time of year in the world of football where the transfer window is well underway, and the headlines are rife with rumours.

Chelsea, in particular, is currently in the transfer spotlight with constant mentions of notable names.

Kai Havertz, Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell and Malang Sarr have all recently signed contracts for The Blues, but stories have been breaking that Chelsea manager, Frank Lampard, also has his eyes on the legendary Lionel Messi as well as French goalkeeper, Edouard Mendy.

The transfer window has been a busy time for Lampard, who is keen to strengthen the team in a bid to rival Liverpool and Man City. As a result, Chelsea has been one of the most active Premier League teams in terms of recruitment, and Lamps undoubtedly has high ambitions.

Take a look as we breakdown the latest Chelsea transfer rumours and the signings for the club so far ahead of the 2020/21 season.

What are the latest Chelsea transfer rumours?

Lionel Messi

Perhaps the biggest of all Chelsea transfer rumours so far is that Frank Lampard has ambitious sights on the one and only Lionel Messi, following a Tweet from Rio Ferdinand.

The 33-year-old Argentinian footballer is currently captain of Barcelona and the Spanish national team and is widely regarded as one of the best players in the world. On 25th August it was confirmed that he wished to depart from Barcelona.

This transfer would be a game-changer for Chelsea as Lampard continues to enhance the team and what an enhancement this would be!

Messi began playing for Barcelona during the 2003-04 season and was making waves from day one. He signed as a senior player on his 18th birthday, establishing himself as a football giant, often being compared to Maradona.

2012 was a significant year for Messi as he continued to break numerous records, scoring five times in a Champions League match against Bayer Leverkusen. He became top goal scorer for Barcelona at the age of 24 and assisted the club in attaining its strongest start to a La Liga season.

Messi has continued to break records throughout his career; during the 2014-15 season, he scored a hat-trick against Sevilla, making him the top goal scorer for La Liga. Another hattrick against Espanyol made him the leading goal scorer for Derbi barceloní . His efforts once again earned him the UEFA Best Player in Europe award.

Fast forward to the 2019-20 season, Messi scored his 35th La Liga hattrick against Mallorca and secured his 700th goal as Barcelona took on Atletico Madrid.

Undoubtedly, Barcelona will do everything possible to persuade Messi to remain, but equally, it will be interesting to see what eye-watering figures will be offered for the football legend. This is certainly some transfer news that we will be keeping our eye on!

Edouard Mendy

The most recent Chelsea transfer rumour is that French goalkeeper Edouard Mendy could potentially be making his way to Stamford Bridge. The Blues are said to be close to signing an £18.2 deal with the 28-year-old.

Mendy currently plays for French side Rennes and reportedly rejected a £14.2m offer from Chelsea last month. The Blues clearly aren’t afraid of substantial offers, so will be interesting to see if they are able to secure this one.

Confirmed Chelsea Transfers for 2020/21 season

It was confirmed that German Striker, Timo Werner, would join Chelsea back in June, as he signed a five-year £47.5 million contract. It was also announced in February 2020 that Hakim Ziyech would make his way to Stamford Bridge for the 2020/21 season. Both players are currently in training with the existing Chelsea squad as they prepare to take the new season by storm. Chelsea, however, has since secured deals with several other noteworthy names:

Kai Havertz

21-year-old Kai Havertz recently signed a £71 million contract to join Chelsea. The German footballer previously played as an attacking midfielder/right winger for Bayer Leverkusen and the German national team.

Despite his young age, Havertz has undoubtedly already made a name for himself in the Bundesliga. Having joined Bayer Leverkusen in 2016, he became their youngest ever goalscorer at the age of just 17.

Continuously breaking records, he also became the youngest player to reach 50 appearances in the Bundesliga and the youngest penalty scorer for Leverkusen.

During the 2018-19 campaign, he became the highest-scoring teenager for the Bundesliga, with a total of 17 goals. In the following season, he then became the second youngest person to achieve 25 goals in a single campaign.

The news of Havertz’ arrival has hugely excited Chelsea fans. He is undoubtedly a rising star, and although he comes at a substantial price, it seems that he could be a wise investment for the team.

Thiago Silva

35-year-old Thiago Silva is making his way to Stamford Bridge on a free transfer. The central defender who already plays for the Brazilian National team is considered to be one of the best defenders of his generation.

Silva has certainly had prosperous football career, joining Milan in 2009 on a €10 million four-year deal. Having received high praise throughout his time at Milan, Silva’s performances have been compared to other legendary Milan players such as Marcel Desailly, Frank Rijkaard and Franco Baresi. During the 2010-11 campaign, he was declared player of the season and best defender in the league.

In 2012, Silva joined Paris Saint Germaine for a fee of around €42 million. The deal made Silva one of the most expensive defenders within the history of football. Although his arrival at the club began with an injury, he was able to return to face Valencia in the Champions League, in which he gave an outstanding performance.

Silva continued to put up strong performances for the club, with Carlo Ancelotti hailing him as the best defender in the world.

This signing is undoubtedly a significant addition for Chelsea and a solid choice from Frank Lampard who is looking to strengthen the squad.

Ben Chilwell

Chelsea reportedly agreed on a £45 million deal for 23-year-old left-back, Ben Chilwell as the Buckinghamshire born footballer recently signed a 5-year contract with The Blues.

Chilwell previously played with Leicester City, making his Premier League debut against Everton in 2016, where he received critical acclaim for his performance.

Although Chilwell was unable to play during Leicester’s five remaining games last season due to injury, Chelsea has no concerns that this would impact his time at the club.

Malang Sarr

French defender Malang Sarr signed a contract on 27th August to join The Blues on a five-year deal.

The 21-year-old began playing for Nice when he was just 5 years old, eventually establishing a regular position at the age of 17. During his time at Nice, Sarr has made a total of 119 appearances and securing 3 goals.

Chelsea has confirmed that Sarr will spend the 2020/21 season out on loan to gain further experience prior to joining the squad.

This transfer window is undoubtedly an exciting time for Chelsea as they continue to add remarkable players to their already impressive line-up, already spending over £200m on new players. It will surely be interesting to see what the final team looks like and how they fare as the 2020/21 season approaches. In the words of Pat Nevin, ‘Chelsea aren’t just building a team, they’re building a dynasty’.

We can’t wait to get back to finally get back in on the action at Stamford Bridge and witness Lampard’s new line up first-hand. Keep an eye on our Chelsea hospitality page to make sure you don’t miss out on what is set to be a season full of spectacular football action!

 

 

Premier League 2020/21 Predictions: Who will finish on top?

As we enter a new exciting Premier League season, football’s “Great Debate” gets underway. With teams like Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd, Tottenham & Chelsea, it’s hard to predict which team will finish on top for the 2020/21 Premier League…

Manchester City

Back to back Premier League Champions, Man City are in good stead to becoming champs for the 2020/21 season. Under Pep Guardiola, Man City conquered England in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 campaign, achieving back-to-back titles, though it was a tough contest between them and rivals Liverpool. With a points difference Man City came out on top and with a goal difference of plus five.

City continued their journey to record-breaking dominance in the Community Shield, defeating Liverpool 5-4 on penalties. The game carried the same intensity as the title race in last year’s Premier League but this time around, it was Claudio Bravo who made himself the hero, stopping Georginio Wijnaldum’s attempt to take it home for the Sky Blues.

In the first half especially, City looked strong, utilising space and adapting to Liverpool’s play to shake things up on the pitch. They have the pace, defence and ability to create opportunity, which are all dangerous components for any opposing team.

The Sky Blues missed out on becoming 2019/20 Premier League champions, with rivals Liverpool pipping them to the post. They’ve taken the crown before but can they do it again for 2020/21 season?

Liverpool

What a fantastic 2019/20 season it was for The Reds, which saw them become champions after a 30-year drought! Jurgen Klopp’s men seemed unstoppable as they remained undefeated for 35 consecutive games.

The cycle was broken by Arsenal as they took on The Reds at Emirates Stadium, achieving their first-ever win again Liverpool in the Premier League.

Putting up a fighting performance match after match, Liverpool proved that they are a certainly a force to be reckoned with. Will they be able to secure the title once again for the 2020/21 Premier League season or will it be reclaimed by one of their fierce rivals?

Tottenham Hotspurs

The 2019/20 season was a difficult one for Spurs. Whilst we saw glimpses of brilliance such as their 5-0 win against Burnley, they also experienced their fair share of defeats.

Mauricio Pochettino was dismissed as the legendary Jose Mourinho took charge as the new manager.

As we enter the 2020/21 season, Mourinho is on a mission to acquire some serious talent in order to stand strong against rivals Liverpool and Man City. Already we have seen the likes of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg jump on board but perhaps the biggest game-changer for the 2020/21 season is the signing of Spurs legend, Gareth Bale, on loan. 

It will be very interesting to see if Mourinho’s new line up will provide Spurs with that extra boost to make waves within the 2020/21 Premier League season.

Chelsea

Last season saw Frank Lampard take over as Chelsea manager, with the Blues finishing at number 4 in the league table.

We saw some strong performances from The Blues last season, such as winning 3-0 against Burnley. They also experienced some crushing defeats, particularly against rivals, Liverpool where they lost 5-3 at Anfield.

Chelsea seems to have a habit of achieving despite the odds, so don’t bet against them for a top-of-the-table position for the 2020/21 season.

Manchester United

We saw a great improvement with Man Utd last season as they finished 3rd, compared to 6th the previous season. Known as the “big beast” of the Premier League, can Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continue to push the boys forward to an equally strong position this time around?

United had some notable performances last season, particularly their 4-0 win against Norwich at Old Trafford.

Manchester United have won the Premier League a record thirteen times. Can the Red Devils do it again for the 2020/21 season?

Click here to read about last seasons most unforgettable matches.

To experience the finest football hospitality head over to Eventmasters Football hospitality page and secure the best views of the pitch as you watch your favourite teams battle it out for the Premier League title.

Chelsea: Premier League 2020/21 Lowdown

Take a look as we cover the ins and outs of the 2020/21 Premier League season so far and what this means for Chelsea. 

How Will Football Stadiums Enforce Social Distancing?

Football fans are keen to get back into the UK’s football stadiums in October but how will social distancing be enforced?

Frustrating Night for Liverpool as They Lose 1-0 to Atletico Madrid

It was not the finest Liverpool performance yesterday as they failed to get a shot on target against Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League draw at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium. The former Champions League winners must now score at least two to go through at Anfield next month and defend their much-coveted title.

As of recent, Atletico Madrid have not played to their best. We have witnessed surprisingly clumsy football from the Spanish giants this season. However, in last night’s Champions League showdown, what we saw was a typical Atletico, defensive Simeone-led performance. They frustrated Liverpool, disrupted their rhythm, won 1-0 with an early strike and were happy with the result. If Atletico can mount a similar defensive performance in two weeks’ time at Anfield Stadium, then the world champions will be in trouble.

Can The Reds muster up the strength to overcome Atletico’s goalkeeper with such huge pedigree? Since the start of the 2013-14 season, Jan Oblak has kept 26 clean sheets in 49 Champions League fixtures. Liverpool failed to upset the sharp performance from Atletico Madrid which was both tenacious and disciplined. We saw some of the brilliance that Atletico Madrid demonstrated last season, displaying what they do best; defend deep and hit on the break.

Of Liverpool’s front three, Sadio Mane was taken off at half-time. Many suspected that the winger was suffering once again with hamstring issues. However, Jurgen Klopp has since revealed that he was concerned Mane would be targeted and receive a second yellow card. Mo Salah was also taken off on the 72-minute mark, having missed multiple opportunities throughout the game, whilst Jordan Henderson staggered off the pitch due to hamstring injury with just 10 minutes to go.

Despite the loss, Liverpool still remain confident about their Champions League journey. Virgil van Dijk said ‘we knew it would be a proper battle. We have 90 minutes to set it straight’, whilst Andy Robertson commented, ‘we gave them the best possible start. They got the fans behind them. They got under our skin. But we know we can be better.’

Jurgen Klopp praised Liverpool’s ‘exceptional’ press but admitted there were problems in the final third. ‘Their defence in the box was incredible’ but added, ‘we will take it like it is. It is only half time. It is not over yet.’

Liverpool have only really struggled twice in what’s been a fantastic season for the Premier League Champions elect and the Champions League Winners but maybe what’s more concerning for Jurgen Klopp is that on both occasions, it’s come against teams who have mastered the 4-4-2 formation in Napoli and Atletico Madrid. Most of Liverpool’s creativity stems from their full-backs and coming up against a flat midfield four means that oppositions have been able to track and screen a lot of what Liverpool’s full backs do. That then means that the midfield three that Klopp selects is key to how creative Liverpool can be. The midfield trio of Henderson, Wijnaldum and Fabinho offers a lot of legs and cover but not necessarily the creativity and drive to get into the half spaces behind the opposition defence and break the lines.

Atletico Madrid came at Liverpool from the off and The Reds did the worst thing possible; allowed them to get a goal after just 4 minutes. A corner slung over, Liverpool’s defenders were not decisive, didn’t deal with it, it pinged off Fabinho’s foot straight to Saul Niguez who slotted past Alisson. The luck certainly went the way of Atletico Madrid but it was a poor performance from a Liverpool perspective.

Full-backs Sime Vrsaljko and Renan Lodi were tight on Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold while the experienced Stefan Savic and Felipe dominated the middle. Indeed, they could have grabbed a second but failed to do so. Robertson, last defender and facing a potential two on one, managed to get it out for a corner. Then Alvaro Morata had a big chance but couldn’t make it count.

Liverpool had it in the net but Salah was a mile offside in the build-up. Otherwise restricted to pot-shots from 25 yards, Robertson well wide and a Fabinho effort high and mighty over the bar. Liverpool’s set pieces were woeful; not moving the ball around fast enough – very unlike the always offensive-minded Merseysiders.

The second half was more of the same – massive Liverpool possession, but ponderously put together attacks with Atletico Madrid trying to steal a second. Thankfully, they couldn’t because that would have put them in pole position but Liverpool have plenty to do.

Salah spurned the best opening when heading a beautiful Joe Gomez ball wide when he should have scored but then Morata slipped with the goal at his mercy, evening itself out.

Diego Costa, the villainous centre-forward, once of Chelsea, came on for Atletico Madrid, but managed to scuff well wide. Jurgen Klopp got a yellow card for going mad on the touchline as the referee failed to spot a blatant hand ball. Which pretty much said it all.

Yesterday was certainly not Liverpool’s finest hour but hopefully they can learn from last night’s mistakes and make a comeback at Anfield next month and be on the road to becoming Champions League winners once again. The trophy is still all to play for.

Premier League Top 4: Will it be Chelsea, Spurs or Manchester United?

It’s been a strange season in the Premier League. We’ve not seen such a dominant campaign from a team since the birth of the Premier League and Liverpool look on course to smash every record going. Despite what you may think of Liverpool or where your allegiances lie, you have to admire the work that Jurgen Klopp has undertaken in the last few seasons at Anfield. It’s a certainty that the League title will return to Merseyside for the first time since 1990 and it’ll be the first time that Liverpool have won the Premier League since its creation in 1992.

The second and third places look to be mutually competed by both Leicester City and Manchester City but they are both 25 and 26 points behind first.

The top three places, barring a major miracle look to be wrapped up with the only uncertainty being who’ll finish second and third out of Leicester and the Citizens. It’s the challenge for fourth place that’s arguably the most competitive in the Premier League – with as many as 8 clubs fancying their chances of Champions League football.

Who has the best chance of finishing in the Premier League Top 4?

Chelsea

Considering Chelsea lost Eden Hazard in the summer and have been under a transfer embargo for 6 months, Frank Lampard has done a tremendous job of blooding the youth of Chelsea into the first team whilst still competing. In recent weeks, Chelsea’s form has been indifferent and having lost to Manchester United last night, it’s blown fourth place wide open. Chelsea had a chance to put some daylight between them and 5th place Tottenham Hotspur but that loss means just a point separates the two with Spurs coming into some form.

Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs look a completely new side under the guidance of Jose Mourinho and have started to churn out wins that they may not have necessarily won under Pochettino. Wins against Manchester City, Aston Villa and Norwich City have seen Spurs soar up the league and put themselves right back in contention for Champions League qualification. The only real black cloud cast over Spurs’ season is the long term injury to Harry Kane. He’s not expected to return until the last game of the season.

Sheffield United

The surprise package thus far. Most fans would’ve tipped the Blades for relegation but Chris Wilder has done a miraculous job and has to be a contender for manager of the season. With their direct style of play, overlapping centre-halves and endless energy, Sheffield United have become a very hard team to beat but may lack the experience towards the latter end of the season. We’re not writing them off though, that’s for sure!

Manchester United

What has happened to Manchester United? Years of poor decisions from the top-down has finally caught up with the Red Devils. Problems on and off the pitch have led to United no longer being a serious Premier League or Champions League contender. However, they’re still a commercial powerhouse with some talented players and have slowly crept back into contention for the top 4. There’s still a lot of work to be done at Old Trafford but that win over Chelsea last night will have boosted the teams’ confidence no end as they find themselves just four points off 4th.

Wolves, Everton & Arsenal

It’s crazy to think that these three clubs are dubbed at having an outside chance of finishing in the Premier League top 4 when they are both 4 and 6 points off 4th place Chelsea. Both Wolves and Arsenal have Europa League commitments and will feel that’s their best way of qualifying for the Champions League. Everton only have the league to focus on having been knocked out of the FA Cup by a youthful Liverpool side. Under Carlo Ancelloti, Everton are unbeaten in their last 5. They’ve certainly improved since the departure of Marco Silva.

5th place for Champions League qualification

Manchester City have been banned from European football for two years having failed to comply with Financial Fair Play (pending an appeal) meaning that 5th place could well be enough for Champions League qualification should City finish in the top 4. This news has put a real spanner in the works for the Premier League and it could mean that 6th, 7th and 8th could also qualify for the Europa League too.

A huge weekend in the race for 4th place

This weekend could have a massive say in the Premier League landscape. Leicester City host Manchester City in a game that could put some daylight between the two should City win. 9th placed Everton travel to 10th placed Arsenal but neither of these games are as important in the race for 4th spot as Chelsea vs Tottenham Hotspur.

Chelsea face Spurs on Saturday in the 12:30pm kick-off at Stamford Bridge and this game will have a massive say in the race for the top 4. London derbies are always a hotly contested affair but with so much riding on this game, it’s sure to be a momentous occasion.

Tickets for Chelsea vs Spurs

We currently have just 3 pairs of hospitality packages left for Chelsea vs Tottenham Hotspur in the Canalleto Suite at Stamford Bridge.

Enjoy a bespoke hospitality service that offers:

  • Luxury padded seats located in the East Stand middle tier near the halfway line
  • A reserved private table for the season
  • A selection of antipasti on arrival
  • Pre-match three-course fine dining
  • A complimentary bar of beer, wine, house spirits and soft drinks
  • A selection of savoury snacks served in your suite at half-time
  • An Italian deli station served in your suite at full-time
  • A matchday programme and teamsheet confirming line-up for all guests
  • An in-room betting facility
  • A dedicated smartphone app

Click here for more details on the Chelsea vs Tottenham Hotspur hospitality packages.