Champions League: Group B
This season, Liverpool will be looking to break history and enter the prestigious list of clubs who have won the European Cup three years in a row, a feat that only three clubs have managed to accomplish - Real Madrid, Ajax, and Bayern. The 2017/18 European champions have been drawn into Group B, and face a tough battle against Fiorentina of Italy and Atletico Madrid of Spain.
Fiorentina fans have experienced disappointment for awhile now after three consecutive bottom half finishes in the Serie A, but wowed an international audience last season by finishing at a commendable 3rd place. Armed with an overachieving Fiorentina side looking to challenge for even more than what they have accomplished, new manager Devis Mangia will be aiming to defy the odds further and push for European glory, going one step further than 1957 when the club conceded the European Cup to Real Madrid.
Key Man - Borja Valero
33-year-old Valero has seen it all with Fiorentina, having been a devoted servant to the club through their ups-and-downs since signing with them in 2012. The veteran playmaker was given the captain's armband this summer and is an important component of the Fiorentina machine, with his influence from the center of the pitch being the factor that makes his team tick. His brilliance last year saw him clinch the Viola's Fans' Player of the Year award and Valero has to channel that form into dragging his side as far as they can go in this season's Champions League.
Atletico missed out on European football last season after an extremely disappointing 10th-placed finish in 2016/17, but are back in the continent's biggest competition after securing 4th place. However, their dealings in the summer transfer window could return to haunt them, with the Spaniards losing their Mr Reliable, vice-captain Koke, to Paris Saint-Germain in a mega-money deal, while also sanctioning the sale of last season's top goalscorer Mario Mandzukic to Roma. Despite still having some good players in their squad, it remains to be seen if Atleti can repeat their Champions League victories of 1974 and 2014.
Key Man - Angel Correa
Correa joined Atletico in 2014 from hometown club San Lorenzo, and has enjoyed a sharp rise to the top of the footballing world since then. The attacking midfielder received his big break in 2016/17, scoring 15 goals in 34 appearances, and also won himself the European Golden Boy award. Correa has gone on from strength to strength, even lifting the World Cup with Argentina this summer, and is now the backbone of Atletico following the departure of Koke. His performances have alerted various clubs around Europe interested in poaching him from the Rojiblancos, but they have to first learn how to play against him and his tendency to leave opposition defenders trailing in his wake.
Trabzonspor have been grouped with Liverpool again this season, and is expected to finish in last place once again. The Turks lost all of their 6 group games last year against Liverpool, Roma, and Celtic, and this time it is not likely to be any different. Still, it doesn't hurt to try, and Trabzonspor might very well be able to take a surprise win off any of the aforementioned three clubs, something that could blow the group wide open.
Key Man - Onur Kıvrak
The goalkeeper known as the Butterfly, Kıvrak, captains Trabzonspor and is a favorite among the fans for his ability to keep out goal-hungry opponents. He will be given the all-important task of keeping goal against the likes of Liverpool's lethal duo Richairo Zivkovic and Mario Balotelli, but if anyone can provide a challenge for the two esteemed goalscorers, Kıvrak is the man.