Liverpool pulled off one of the classic European comebacks to beat Borussia Dortmund 4-3 on the night and reach the semi-finals of the Europa League.
The Reds’ success topped off a successful week for English clubs in Europe, following Manchester City’s triumph over Paris Saint-Germain.
Dortmund went 2-0 up within ten minutes and later led 3-1, before an incredible comeback saw Liverpool through. City, meanwhile, built on their 2 away goals in Paris with a Kevin de Bruyne winner to send PSG crashing out.
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While the two sides will undoubtedly be delighted with their own fortunes, they may also unwittingly have done the rest of English football a favour.
Manchester United, Arsenal, and Chelsea’s relatively early exits from the Champions League raised questions about whether the Premier League should be entitled to four spots in the competition, particularly with Serie A, La Liga, and the Bundesliga breathing down their necks.
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That change could have come in as early as next season, but UEFA may now have to think twice.
It is understandable why the governing body were re-considering English football's prestige in the wake of the big three's failures.
No longer second best
To top it all off, Spurs were then thrashed by Dortmund in their last-16 Europa League tie. That had been dubbed a battle of the ‘second bests’, with both sides second in their respective countries.
There looked to be a huge gulf between the quality of the Premier League and the rest of Europe. Admittedly, the league is not at its strongest this season, epitomised by Leicester City’s reign at the summit, with Chelsea and Liverpool languishing around mid-table.
However, City and Liverpool have worked wonders by almost restoring the Premier League’s reputation overnight.
PSG, on the other hand, are frequently undone in Europe because of the weakness of the French league. Celtic used to encounter the same problem, whereby they found it difficult to improve because they were not tested regularly enough. PSG might have the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but they are still yet to make a real impression on the Champions League.
Liverpool might not be flying as high in the league as they would like, but their thrilling display will have reminded their fellow semi-finalists that they are not to be taken lightly. Jurgen Klopp’s plans finally look as though they are coming together, and that is enough to intimidate even the finest opposition – like Dortmund.
Both City and Liverpool have a decent chance of going all the way. And so, as Dejan Lovren’s header stormed into the back of the net, English teams burst back onto the European scene with a message of defiance.
Does the Premier League deserve four Champions League spots? Have your say in the comment box.
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