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Last Updated: Monday, 2 April 2007, 12:49 GMT 13:49 UK
Alan Hansen's column
Alan Hansen
By Alan Hansen
BBC Sport football expert

We keep hearing how the Premiership is the most exciting league in the world but the only way you can argue it is the best is if our teams are regularly in the final of the Champions League.

Liverpool won the Champions League two years ago and Arsenal got to the final last year.

Man Utd (1999) and Liverpool (2005) have triumphed in the Champions League
Man Utd (1999) and Liverpool (2005) have triumphed in the Champions League
It would be great to get back to how it was in the late 1970s and 80s when English teams were dominating European football.

You can only start to make judgements over a five-year period, so hopefully the three English sides left in the tournament can carry that forward this season.

I can see all three English teams reaching the semi-finals this year and it would be fantastic to have an all-English final.

I think we have better teams than we did five or six years ago when England's teams struggled in the Champions League.

Now the three survivors - Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool - all have great players.

These teams are jam-packed full of ability and fantastic players.

Liverpool have hit form just at the right stage of the season.

They say they have an easier game against PSV Eindhoven than in the previous round against Barcelona but Liverpool will know they have to play well to win because it is the last eight of the Champions League.

But the difference between playing PSV and Barcelona is that if they play well they will beat PSV.

Against Barcelona they knew they needed to be at the top of their game to have any chance of going through.

The most important thing when you go into the first leg of a Champions League quarter-final is to give yourself a chance for the second leg.

ENGLISH DOMINATION
English teams won the European Cup six years in a row between 1977-1982:
1977 Liverpool
1978 Liverpool
1979 Nottingham Forest
1980 Nottingham Forest
1981 Liverpool
1982 Aston Villa
Liverpool will go to PSV knowing they have to keep it tight - I think that is what the three English teams will be doing.

At the weekend Liverpool played exceptionally well against Arsenal.

They were beaten by Manchester United but otherwise they have played really well recently.

Against Arsenal, Peter Crouch took his hat-trick brilliantly and Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has a number of attacking options, which is the beauty of having three players up there.

But against PSV it is more important how they play defensively.

If they perform like they did against Barcelona then there will be nothing there for PSV and I think the Reds will go through, with a potential tie against Chelsea awaiting them.

I believe Liverpool could go all the way - they are a far better outfit than they were two years ago - and two Champions League titles in three years would be an absolutely fantastic achievement.

But Liverpool supporters have not seen their side win the English title for 17 years now - and that is the big one for them.

Liverpool fans want the Premiership crown more than anything else but the Champions League would be a massive bonus.

Manchester United are playing really well but losing Nemanja Vidic to a dislocated shoulder is a huge blow to their hopes of winning the Champions League.

But the way they have been winning games you would expect them to go through against Roma.

Chelsea just keep plodding along - you always know they are going to be there at the death.

They have their detractors because they do not play with the fluency of Arsenal or Manchester United but they are more methodical.

They come, they have a look at you and then they beat you.



SEE ALSO
PSV Eindhoven v Liverpool
02 Apr 07 |  Europe
AC Milan v Bayern Munich
02 Apr 07 |  Europe
Chelsea v Valencia
02 Apr 07 |  Europe
Roma v Man Utd
02 Apr 07 |  Europe
English trio kept apart in draw
09 Mar 07 |  Europe


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