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Liverpool’s potential Champions League playoff opponents

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A Champions League playoff awaits Liverpool in August and we now know nearly all of the Reds’ 10 potential opponents.

Jurgen Klopp‘s men beat Middlesbrough on the final day of 2016/17 to seal a well-deserved top-four finish – just their second since 2009/10.

There has been understandable excitement about Liverpool being back in the Champions League, but they must overcome a tense playoff first.

Barring the unfinished Greek Superleague, which will see either PAOK, AEK Athens or Panathinaikos make the cut, the other nine possible adversaries are now confirmed.

Bundesliga side Hoffenheim are one who Klopp would like to avoid, with their 29-year-old manager Julian Nagelsmann earning many plaudits in 2016/17.

CSKA Moscow are another team who don’t look particularly appealing, with trips to Russia famously tough over the years.

UEFA general secretary David Taylor draws Liverpool out during the Champions League Group Stage draw at the Grimaldi Forum, Monaco.

Liverpool’s Possible Opponents:

  • Hoffenheim
  • CSKA Moscow
  • Sporting
  • Nice
  • Young Boys
  • Viktoria Plzen
  • Steaua Bucharest
  • Club Brugge
  • Istanbul BB
  • PAOK, AEK Athens or Panathinaikos

Sporting could also pose a threat, while former Liverpool man Mario Balotelli would love to send Nice through at the expense of the Reds.

Swiss outfit Young Boys faced the Merseysiders in the 2012/13 Europa League, and they are another possible opponent in the two-legged August clashes.

The remaining sides hoping to make it through to the Champions League group stages are Viktoria Plzen (Czech Republic), Club Brugge (Belgium), Steaua Bucharest (Romania) and Istanbul BB (Turkey).

Once the third qualifying round is done, there will be only five teams Liverpool could face in final round before the competition properly gets underway.

In truth, the Reds should have too much for any of their opponents, but pressure can do funny things and whoever they are drawn against will provide a stern test.

The ties take place either side of the second league game of the new season, on August 16/17 and 23/24. The draw for the playoff is made on August 4.

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