Thursday 14 December 2017

Revealed - Who Liverpool (and maybe Manchester United) may face in the Champions League draw

Jurgen Klopp has led Liverpool into the Champions League, but who might they face in the play-off round and group stages Photo: PA Wire.
Jurgen Klopp has led Liverpool into the Champions League, but who might they face in the play-off round and group stages Photo: PA Wire.
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Liverpool will face a potentially tricky qualifying round to get into the Champions League group stages in August - and their challenge will only increase if they make progress in the competition as the seedings for next season’s competition took some shape on Sunday.

A 3-0 win against Middlesbrough in the last round of Premier League fixtures was enough to secure Liverpool a fourth place finish ahead of Arsenal, who missed out on a place in Europe’s elite competition for the first time in 20 years.

Liverpool will be seeded in a qualifying round that could throw up a two-leg tie against Sporting Lisbon or CSKA Moscow possible for Jurgen Klopp’s Reds, with this collection of teams in the mix for the final preliminary hurdle ahead of next season's Champions League.

PLAY- OFF ROUND

Champions League playoff seeded clubs: Sevilla, Napoli or Roma, Dynamo Kiev*, Ajax**, Liverpool

Unseeded clubs (five from 10): Sporting Lisbon, Viktoria Plzen*, CSKA Moscow*, Club Brugge*, Steaua Bucharest*, Young Boys*, Hoffenheim, Nice*, Istanbul Basaksehir or Besiktas*, runners-up in Greece*

* Start in third qualifying round

** Ajax will go straight into the group stages if they win the Europa League.

Should Liverpool negotiate the first hurdle of their Champions League adventure successfully, they will need a lot of good fortune in the group stage draw to avoid being drawn against two of Europe’s big-hitters.

Liverpool’s relatively modest UEFA co-efficient ranking has left them open to a potentially daunting group stage draw, after it was confirmed they will be in the third pot of seeds for next season’s competition.

That means current European champions and newly crowned Spanish champions Real Madrid, as well as Italian kings Juventus and German big-hitters Bayern Munich are possible opponents for Liverpool.

Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid and Klopp’s old side Borrusia Dortmund will be among the second set of seeds, opening the prospect for Liverpool to face a daunting draw as they prepare to return to the competition they have won five times in their illustrious history.

Manchester United will be in the second pot of seeds if they qualifying for the Champions League by winning the Europa League in next Wednesday’s final against Ajax, with their local rivals also assured of a second place seeding.

Meanwhile, Tottenham will join Liverpool among the third seeds, with the team that will be based at Wembley Stadium next season liable to get a tricky draw.

Here is the latest scenario for all teams that have qualified for next season’s Champions League, with a host of teams to join this list over the coming months.

Seeded: Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Benfica, Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk, Monaco, Spartak Moscow

Pot 2: Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla*, Man City, FC Porto, Manchester United (if they win the Europa League)

Pot 3: Napoli*, Tottenham, FC Basel, Dynamo Kiev*, Ajax*, Olympiakos*, Anderlecht, Liverpool*

Pot 4: Remaining clubs

* Start in qualifying rounds

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