Liverpool know they could face Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Shakhtar Donetsk or one of Sevilla, Benfica or Ajax in the Champions League group stage.
The main pots for the 2020/21 European Cup group stage draw are now almost set.
Pot 1 contains the champions of the top six European leagues and the holders of both the Champions League and Europa League.
Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain are the two UCL finalists but are already included in Pot 1 as the champions of their respective divisions.
So the place reserved for the winner of the European Cup falls to the champions of UEFA’s 7th-ranked league – which in this case in Portugal and Porto.
Pot 1 teams include ; Liverpool, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus, PSG, Zenit St Petersburg, Inter Milan or Sevilla, Porto.
Pot 2 meanwhile has also been nearly finalised as it can only change if Sevilla win the Europa League and elevate themselves into Pot 1. If that happens, Benfica move up from Pot 3 to Pot 2 – as long as they make it through the qualifying rounds. But if they are knocked out, Ajax will move up into Pot 2.
Pot 2 teams include ; Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Shakhtar Donetsk and one of Sevilla, Benfica or Ajax.
Pot 3 and Pot 4 will completely depend on qualifying rounds and are subject to change – but working on the basis that all the highest ranking teams make it through, each pot will be as follows:
Pot 3 teams include ; Benfica or Inter Milan, Ajax, Dynamo Kiev, RB Salzburg, RB Leipzig, Olympiacos, Lazio, Celtic.
From this group all of Benfica, Dynamo, Salzburg, Olympiacos and Celtic must come through qualifying rounds to be included.
Pot 4 teams include ; Atalanta, Dynamo Zagreb, Lokomotiv Moscow, Marseille, Club Brugge, Borussia Monchengladbach, Istanbul Basaksehir, Stade Rennais.
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Again this group will be subject to who qualifies but the pots are becoming clearer.
The group draw takes place later than usual, due to the impact of COVID-19, on October 1 and the initial matches will get underway on October 20 and October 21.
As ever, pot seedings are all about coefficients, the means by which UEFA determine the rankings of clubs in their competitions.
During the course of a season, a club is given ranking points for reaching various points of either the Champions League or Europa League, and for winning or drawing games in each competition.
The total over a rolling five-year period is determined as being a club’s coefficient. The better a club do during that timescale, the higher their coefficient value, and the further up the rankings they are.
That becomes significant when seedings are determined for the various draws in the competitions.
Schedules for the Champions League qualifying rounds, and all the teams left, are set out below.
*Benfica, Dyanmo Kiev, Salzburg and Olympiacos will enter the qualifying rounds at a later stage.
Champions League Qualifying, so far
August 21 – first qualifying round – KI (FAROE) 17:00 Slovan Bratislava (SVK)
August 25 – second qualifying round – PAOK (GRE) 19:00 Besiktas (TUR)
August 25 – second qualifying round – Tirana (ALB) 19:00 Red Star Belgrade (SRB)
August 26 – second qualifying round – AZ Alkmaar (NED) 15:30 Viktoria Plzen (CZE)
August 26 – second qualifying round – Qarabag (AZE) 17:00 Sheriff (MDA)
August 26 – second qualifying round – Celje (SVN) 17:00 Molde (NOR)
August 26 – second qualifying round – Suduva (LTU) 17:00 M. Tel-Aviv (ISR)
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August 26- second qualifying round – Lokomotiva Zagreb (CRO) 18:00 Rapid Wien (AUT)
August 26 – second qualifying round – Ludogorets (BUL) 18:30 Midtjylland (DEN)
August 26 – second qualifying round – Dinamo Brest (BLR) 19:00 Sarajevo (BIH)
August 26 – second qualifying round – Legia Warsaw (POL) 19:00 Omonia (CYP)
August 26 – second qualifying round – Cluj (ROU) 19:00 Dynamo Zagreb (CRO)
August 26 – second qualifying round – Young Boys (SUI) 19:15 TBC
August 26 – second qualifying round Celtic (SCO) 19:45 Ferencvaros (HUN)
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