Kylian Mbappé set for face off with Liverpool forward which could bring major benefit next season
It’s now nearly three weeks since Liverpool last played a game, and still over a month until they return for pre-season training. So, with the European Championship just round the corner, offering a month’s worth of football to keep us going until the Reds are back in action, our writers will be producing a series of mini-previews over the coming days leading up to the tournament with a series of predictions and things to look out for.
First up: Joel Rabinowitz .
Which Liverpool player will get the furthest?
I don’t see any of Scotland, Wales or Switzerland reaching the latter stages of the tournament, which rules out Andy Robertson, Harry Wilson, Neco Williams and Xherdan Shaqiri from this conversation. It’s therefore between Thiago Alcântara, Jordan Henderson and Diogo Jota, and although I think England and Spain both have a reasonable chance of doing quite well, I predict Portugal will at least make the semi-finals and quite possibly go all the way. They have by far the toughest group, it should be said, with France and Germany providing stiff competition, but if they can come through it I see them going far.
With the likes of Jota, Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Felix, Bernardo Silva among their ranks, they have such an explosive array of attacking options, plenty of experience in midfield and loads of quality in defence too, with Ruben Dias and Joao Cancelo in particular both going into the tournament off the back of superb seasons at Manchester City. The tournament offers Jota a chance to build on his superb 2020/21 season and make himself a hero for Portugal. It would be great for him to bounce into next season with Liverpool as a European champion with his country.
Who will win the tournament?
As much as I fancy Portugal, it’s difficult to look beyond France. They have a ludicrous amount of quality and depth in virtually every position, and with Karim Benzema back in the fold after a five year hiatus from the national team, they have a hugely prolific centre forward alternative to Olivier Giroud to add even more firepower to an attacking department which already contains Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Kingsley Coman etc.
Who will win the Golden Boot?
Romelu Lukaku, on the basis that Belgium should comprehensively win their group, and I can see him running riot against Finland and Russia especially. If Belgium top their group, they’ll play one of the best third-place teams in the last 16 as well.Read More Related Articles Read More Related Articles
Who will be named player of the tournament?
An obvious answer, I know, but I see no reason why it won’t be Mbappe. He’s got previous experience of playing an integral role in winning a major international tournament, and he’s only got better as a player since then. The stage is set for him to do it all over again, and after Paris Saint-Germain’s disappointing 2020/21 campaign, he’ll be even more determined to get his hands on some silverware.
Dark horses to keep an eye on?
I have a sneaky feeling Denmark might surprise a few people. Unbeaten in qualifying, they ought to finish second in Group B ahead of Russia and Finland, which, if they do so, means they’ll most likely face one of Wales, Switzerland or Turkey in the last-16. Get past that, and they could also potentially have one of the more favourable quarter-final opponents as well. Christian Eriksen, Thomas Delaney and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg is a very solid midfield platform to have, with a number of strong centre-backs to choose from in Joachim Andersen, Jannik Vestergaard and Andreas Christensen. Goals might prove difficult to come by, but between Yussuf Poulsen, Martin Braithwaite and Kasper Dolberg, they might just have enough to go on a decent run.
Which team will fall furthest short of expectations?
My sense is that England won’t go all that far. They should get out of the group, but if they win it then they’ll face the runner-up from Group F, which is almost certain to be one of France, Portugal or Germany, so they may actually be better off finishing second and facing the runner-up from Group E, which will probably be Poland or Switzerland. But even then, the most likely scenario is they end up facing France in the quarter-final, and I struggle to see them winning that. Even putting aside the legitimate doubts around Gareth Southgate’s tactical acumen at the highest level, the dearth of quality at centre-back, especially in the absence of Harry Maguire (who doesn't look like he'll be fit enough), is a major issue which I suspect will be their undoing, despite the vast array of talent up front.Read More Related Articles Read More Related Articles