Revealed - Why Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers may be hoping Liverpool crash out of the Champions League
The seedings for this seasons Champions League will be confirmed when the final play-off games are concluded on Wednesday night, and a curious twist of fate will see Celtic benefit from a shock Liverpool exit at Anfield.
Celtic progressed into the Champions League as expected with an 8-4 aggregate win over Astana, but they were made to sweat in their 4-3 second-leg defeat in Kazakhstan.
Now they can look forward to the Champions League group stage draw, with Liverpool's progress set to have a direct impact on Celtic's ambitions in the competition.
Liverpool head into the second leg of their tie against Hoffenheim with a 2-1 advantage from the first leg in Germany last week, with Jurgen Klopp's men strong favourites to make progress to the group stages.
That would see them claim a place among the third seeds in the draw for the Champions League group stages that will take place on Thursday, with Celtic dropping down into the bottom group of seeds if Liverpool qualify.
However, if Liverpool are humbled by Hoffenheim at Anfield, Celtic will be placed among the third set of seeds and will avoid potential clashes against Tottenham, Napoli and Roma.
After being drawn against Barcelona and Manchester City last season, Celtic could be handed a daunting Champions League challenge as they could be paired with champions Real Madrid and a Neymar-inspired Paris Saint-Germain or even Jose Mourinho's Manchester United.
Yet even if a place among the third set of seeds would be a boost for the Scottish champions, Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers admits he would like to make a return to his former club Liverpool in the Champions League group stages.
"Whoever we get, we will take on the challenge, but if we were in the same group as Liverpool it would be absolutely amazing," stated Rodgers. "They are an incredible club, a great history, particularly in the Champions League."
Manchester United and Manchester City are confirmed among the second seeds in the group stages, which means they will avoid potential clashes with Barcelona, PSG, Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund.
Like Celtic, Tottenham could be given a difficult task to make it to the knock-out stages, as they are in line to face some heavy hitters in the opening phase of the competition at their temporary Wembley home.
Top seeds: Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Benfica, Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk, Monaco, Spartak Moscow
2nd seeds: Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla, Man City, FC Porto, Manchester United
3rd seeds: Napoli, Tottenham, FC Basel, Olympiakos, Anderlecht, Roma, Besiktas, Liverpool or Celtic