Liverpool now know the five biggest sides they could face in Champions League group stage

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Liverpool have learned the five biggest sides they can draw in the group stage of this season’s Champions League, as the four pots for the upcoming draw become clearer.

The Reds will enter the Champions League group stage draw in Pot 1, after winning the Premier League for the first time last season.

They are joined by fellow title-winners Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Zenit St Petersburg and Porto, along with the winners of last season’s Europa League, Sevilla.

Liverpool can, therefore, not be drawn against any of those sides in the group stage, with one from each of Pots 2, 3 and 4 to be their opponents for the rest of the year.

Tuesday night saw Benfica lose their third qualifying round clash with PAOK, which relinquished the final spot in Pot 2 to Ajax.

With the Reds unable to meet fellow English sides in the group stage, that leaves just five sides from Pot 2 that they can be drawn against.

Along with Ajax, those are Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Shakhtar Donetsk, with Man City, Man United and Chelsea all ruled out.

These five present a mix of interesting clashes for Liverpool, including the side who knocked them out of last season’s tournament, Atletico, and the one they famously humiliated in the semi-finals in 2019, Barca.

DORTMUND, GERMANY - Thursday, April 7, 2016: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp before the UEFA Europa League Quarter-Final 1st Leg match against Borussia Dortmund at Westfalenstadion. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Dortmund would be a romantic draw for Jurgen Klopp, while Ajax would be a rare opponent for the Reds, with the two sides having only met twice before in competitive games, both being in 1966.

Shakhtar would be the most difficult in terms of travel, but would also ensure a first-time meeting.

RB Leipzig, Inter Milan, Lazio and Atalanta are already confirmed for Pot 3, and are most likely to be joined by Dynamo Kyiv, Salzburg, Olympiakos and Krasnodar.

Pot 4 includes Borussia Monchengladbach, Rennes and Istanbul Basaksehir, with the likes of Lokomotiv Moscow, Marseille and Club Brugge qualified and potentially included too.

The draw for the Champions League group stage will be held at 5pm (BST) on Thursday, October 1, with the final pots to be determined by September 30, when the playoffs are concluded.


Champions League Group Stage Pots (So Far)

LISBON, PORTUGAL - Sunday, August 23, 2020: The European Cup trophy on display before the UEFA Champions League Final between FC Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain at the Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica. (Credit: ©UEFA)

Pot 1: Bayern, Sevilla, Real Madrid, LIVERPOOL, Juventus, PSG, Zenit, Porto

Pot 2: Barcelona, Atletico, Man City, Man United, Shakhtar, Dortmund, Chelsea, Ajax

Pot 3: RB Leipzig, Inter Milan, Lazio, Atalanta

Pot 4: Borussia Monchengladbach, Istanbul Basaksehir, Rennes

Pot 3 or 4: Lokomotiv Moscow, Marseille, Club Brugge

Yet to qualify:

Slavia Prague or Midtjylland/Young Boys
Maccabi Tel Aviv/Dynamo Brest or Salzburg
Olympiakos or Omonia/Red Star
Qarabag/Molde or Ferencvaros/Dinamo Zagreb
Krasnodar or PAOK
Gent or Dynamo Kyiv

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