Saturday 15 December 2018

Why Liverpool are in danger of being handed a nightmare Champions League group stage draw

Jurgen Klopp (Anthony Devlin/PA).
Jurgen Klopp (Anthony Devlin/PA).
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

The Champions League qualifying rounds are reaching a key stage and Liverpool fans may be in the unfamiliar position of cheering on Turkish side Fenerbahce in their tie against Benfica next week.

A heavy defeat for FC Basel in the Champions League against Greek side PAOK on on Wednesday night boosted Liverpool's hopes of leaping into the second pot of seeded clubs, but Jurgen Klopp's men still need one big result to go their way to secure elevation into the second tier of teams for this season's competition.

Victory for Portuguese giants Benfica in their third qualifying round game against Fenerbahce that will be played over two legs on August 7 and 14 could mean the final spot up for grabs in pot two of the Champions League will elude last season's runners-up Liverpool.

Yet Benfica will be ranked among the second tier of teams if they beat Fenerbahce and then go on to win their play-off match that could be against Ajax.

If Liverpool were to miss out on a second seeding in the Champions League, it could mean they face a nightmare draw on August 30th, with defending champions Real Madrid, Spanish champions Barcelona and Italian giants Juventus all potential rivals.

They could then face tests against Borussia Dortmund or Roma, with Inter Milan and Valencia the strongest of the teams that could be included in the final pot of seeds.

This is how the top seeded teams will line up this season in Pot 1:

Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Lokomotiv Moscow

Pot 2 will look like this if Benfica make it through their two qualifying rounds:

Borussia Dortmund, FC Porto, Manchester United, Shakhtar Donetsk, Benfica, Napoli, Tottenham Hotspur, Roma.

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