Champions League: Graeme Souness names the four favourites to lift trophy

Champions League: Graeme Souness names the four favourites to lift trophy

Graeme Souness has previewed the Champions League quarter-finals (Pictures: Getty)

Graeme Souness believes Manchester City are now the ‘outstanding favourites’ to win the Champions League but says three teams will rival the Premier League club for the trophy.

Man City will meet Lyon in the ‘final eight’ tournament in Lisbon after they beat Real Madrid 4-2 across two legs.

The opening fixture of the round sees Atalanta face French champions PSG on August 12, while RB Leipzig take on Atletico Madrid the following day.

Barcelona and Bayern Munich will compete for the final semi-final spot, with the 2020 Champions League final taking place on August 23.

Souness reckons Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are the ‘outstanding favourites’ ahead of the ‘final eight’ tournament but says Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich could also lift the trophy.

He wrote in The Times: ‘I expect Manchester City to blow Lyon away in the quarter-final and they are the outstanding favourites now to win it.

‘Guardiola will have to be wary of his former clubs in the semi-final, whether it’s Bayern or Barça waiting for City there.

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‘If Lionel Messi has a special night, Barcelona can beat anyone. Bayern are streets ahead of everyone else in Germany and have already blown away a couple of English teams this year in Tottenham and Chelsea.

‘On the other side of the draw, I reckon Paris Saint-Germain will come up short again and Atletico Madrid could be the greatest danger.

‘They had some luck against Liverpool – in a tie that was completed before lockdown – but were dogged and organised.

‘They don’t play football that gets you on the edge of your seat, but nobody enjoys playing against them. They can get inside the heads of the opposition because of that.

‘They are happy to play without the ball, but always a danger and nobody looks forward to facing them.’

Souness added: ‘It will be eating away at Pep Guardiola that he hasn’t won this tournament since 2011.

‘It will be a criticism that he will not like because people will ask how hard was it to win it with Barcelona when you had Lionel Messi, Andrés Iniesta and Xavi at their peak.

‘Then he went to Bayern Munich, who see themselves as an elite European team who should be winning it more often, and didn’t win it there.

‘In the past two seasons with City, he’s been unlucky against Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool, so maybe this is his year.’

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