Tough Ties For Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, and Chelsea!

Barney Corkhill@@BarneyCorkhillSenior Writer IDecember 19, 2008

We thought we had got rid of him forever, but the above picture shows the face of the man who will be returning to English shores, courtesy of the UEFA Champions League.

What's more, Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan team has been drawn against Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United, reigniting a rivalry which first started when Mourinho embarked on a touchline-length celebration as his then-side FC Porto dumped United out of the Champions League.

Since then, Mourinho has won the Champions League with Porto, before moving on to manage Chelsea, and tussling for the title with Ferguson's United.

He won that tussle, guiding Chelsea to a first league title in 50 years, quickly followed in bus-like fashion by another one. In fact, in the 12 meetings between the two managers, Jose Mourinho has won six, while Fergie has only won once. Have we found his Achilles heel?

Inter Milan vs. Manchester United isn't the only mouthwatering tie, however. In fact, all the English sides have drawn tough opposition, and will face a huge struggle to get through.

None more so than Liverpool. The English Kings of Europe will take on the Kings of Europe as they were drawn against nine-times winners Real Madrid.

Madrid may not be in the best form recently, but they are still the biggest club in the world, and can never be counted out. But in recent years, Liverpool have triumphed over AC Milan, Barcelona, and Inter Milan in the competition, so Benitez is not a stranger to overcoming the bigger teams.

Speaking of Benitez, he will be returning to Spain for the first leg and, more specifically, the Bernabeu, where he plied his trade as both a player and a coach. Fernando Torres will also be returning to Madrid and will be keen to get one over his former team's arch-rivals.

On the other side, it will be Juande Ramos' first return to England after his less than successful spell in charge of Tottenham. Let's just hope he has a similar effect on Madrid!

Who knows, we could be seeing Benitez vs. Mourinho again in the quarter-finals! Or should we save that for the semis?

Chelsea and Arsenal have perhaps been the luckiest of the four English teams, but their ties are by no means easy.

Chelsea take on Juventus in the first-ever meeting between the two sides. As with all the ties so far, this also has a back-story, as former Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri will be returning to Stamford Bridge.

Juventus were highly impressive in the group stages, beating Real Madrid twice. With Chelsea's home form not up to their usual standards, a trip to the Stadio Olimpico will really put their impressive away form to the test.

Interestingly, the Chelsea spokesman said how relieved he was to avoid Barcelona in the draw. Now, I know Barcelona are on good form, but a statement like that is not something you would expect to hear from a club whom many regard to be one of the favourites.

The Arsenal spokesman also said the same thing after his club were drawn against AS Roma, ensuring that all three Italian clubs had English opposition.

Roma beat Chelsea in the group stage, so Arsenal will have a real fight on their hands, particularly if they continue in the inconsistent form that has plagued them throughout their league campaign.

The first leg of that tie will be played at the Emirates Stadium, giving Wenger's team the chance to gain a good lead to take to Italy.

These ties are very tough to predict, but I'm going to have a go!

Inter Milan vs. Manchester United...

...will be very close. United have the better team, but Mourinho looks like he's got Ferguson's number. I'm going for a Manchester United win. Just.

Liverpool vs. Real Madrid...

...will be very interesting, as well. Madrid aren't in good form, and Liverpool are very difficult to beat in Europe. I'm going for a Liverpool win.

Juventus vs. Chelsea...

...could be a close one, but with Chelsea's less than impressive group campaign, and Juventus in great form in Europe, I'm going for a surprise Juventus win!

AS Roma vs Arsenal...

...all depends on what Arsenal turns up. Will it be the Arsenal who have lost to Fulham and Hull or the Arsenal who have beaten Chelsea and Manchester United? Because they are so unpredictable, I have to go with a Roma win!


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