Previously, the side that finished fourth in the English top flight required to progress through a preliminary qualifier, with the Reds beating Hoffenheim over two legs this season.
Italy, Spain and Germany are similarly favoured, joining the winners of both tournaments, the top two from France and Russia, and the champions from Portugal, Ukraine, Belgium and Turkey.
- 5th and 6th-placed sides guaranteed Europa League group stage
- Champions League kickoff times now 5.55pm and 8pm (GMT)
Liverpool are currently vying for a place in the top four in May, with Jurgen Klopp‘s side sitting third in the table with 10 games to play.
There is still the possibility they will win this season’s Champions League, having beaten Porto comfortably in the first leg of their last-16 clash.
However it is more likely they will need to book their place at next year’s tournament through their league finish, and a favourable run-in suggests they will do so.
But the ability to finish fourth and avoid a qualifier at the beginning of next season is a major boost, particularly in a World Cup year.
The Reds played five games in just 15 days at the start of the campaign, including both meetings with Hoffenheim, and while they went undefeated it served as a gruelling challenge.
This will hopefully ensure a smoother start to the season for Klopp’s side, as their preparation is already hampered by a host of key players performing at the World Cup.