Liverpool legend Steve Nicol changes Tottenham Hotspur Champions League prediction after Sporting CP loss
Liverpool legend Steve Nicol, speaking on ESPN, admitted that he did not see Tottenham Hotspur as a ‘shoo-in’ to qualify from their UEFA Champions League group anymore after their loss against Sporting CP.
The Lilywhites managed to keep the scoreline at 0-0 until the 89th minute at the Estadio Jose Alvalade on Tuesday night but two late goals meant Spurs went back to north London with nothing to show. Spurs have been drawn into a rather complex group.
While it does not contain any current European big-hitter like Bayern Munich, Paris-Saint Germain (PSG) or Real Madrid, the group does have three fairly evenly matched teams in Sporting, Olympique de Marseille, and Eintracht Frankfurt.
When the groups were drawn, Nicol believed that Spurs were the favourites to qualify from it. However, the recent loss to Ruben Amorim’s side has changed his perception. The 1984 European Cup with LFC said:
“I thought they were a shoo-in [when the groups were drawn], I don’t see them as a shoo-in now. I think all the other sides will be looking at them and going ‘well, you know what’… if they thought they were a shoo-in before this, before the ball was kicked, they know now that they can play Tottenham home or away and get something.”
It wouldn’t be unfair to call this an overreaction. Spurs had chances to score and were right in the game until the first goal was scored seconds before the 90 minutes were up.
Spurs are still a strong contender to qualify and while the path isn’t easy, it’s also unfair to presume that the other teams in the group consider themselves as minnows. Sporting CP won the Primeira Liga in the 2021/22 season and in Ruben Amorim, have a world-class manager.
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Frankfurt are the UEFA Europa League champions while Marseille are historically a massive side in France, having won the UEFA Champions League in the 1992-93 season.