Liverpool's Jordan Henderson lifts the trophy after the final whistle during the UEFA Champions League Final at the Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid. (Image: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.)

Who Liverpool can face in next season’s Champions League group stage

With less than six weeks until the start of the new season, Liverpool can prepare for a renewed assault on the Premier League along with the Champions League.

Last season saw the Reds produce a strong effort but ultimately drop out of the Champions League at the quarter-finals, having lost 3-1 to Real Madrid on aggregate.

A perfect storm of injuries made that an understandable situation, of course, as was also the case with their third-placed finish in the league, having failed to defend their title.

But with the transfer window open and key names back, Liverpool can and will be expected to challenge for both the Premier League and Champions League in 2021/22.

The Reds already know who they will play in the league, with the campaign kicking off away to Norwich on August 14, but their opponents in Europe as are yet undetermined.

However, we already know many of the clubs Liverpool could face in the group stage…


Who can Liverpool face?

NYON, SWITZERLAND - Monday, December 14, 2020: Special guest Stéphane Chapuisat draws out Liverpool FC during the UEFA Champions League 2020/21 Round of 16 draw at the UEFA Headquarters, the House of European Football. (Photo Handout/UEFA)

Liverpool will be in Pot 2 for the draw, which means that they can be drawn against one club from each of the following pots:

Pot 1

Villarreal, Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, Lille, Sporting CP

Pot 3

Porto, Ajax, RB Leipzig, Atalanta, Zenit St Petersburg, Besiktas*, Dynamo Kyiv*, Club Brugge*

Pot 4

AC Milan, Wolfsburg

* Could still be in Pot 4.


Who will they avoid?

As Liverpool will be in Pot 2, they will avoid Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, Man United, Paris Saint-Germain, Sevilla and Borussia Dortmund in the group stage.

They also cannot be drawn against another English side, which rules out Man City and Chelsea from Pot 1.


Which other clubs can still qualify?

The first qualifying round for the Champions League will get underway on July 6, with Kosovan side FC Prishtina having clinched their place alongside 31 other sides having progressed from the preliminary round.

T8CH9C Rangers manager Steven Gerrard celebrates a Rangers goal during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match at Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow.

Legia Warsaw, Maccabi Haifa, Ludogorets and Dinamo Zagreb are among the clubs in the first qualifying round.

Sixteen clubs will then advance to the second qualifying round to join Omonia, Young Boys, Olympiakos and Red Star Belgrade.

Rapid Wien, Sparta Prague, Celtic, FC Midtjylland, PSV Eindhoven and Galatasaray will contest a separate part of the second qualifying round.

The third qualifying round currently includes Slavia Prague, Rangers, Shakhtar Donetsk, Benfica, Monaco, Genk and Spartak Moscow.

Finally, Red Bull Salzburg and Brondby have already booked their place in the decisive playoff round.


When is the draw?

The draw for the Champions League group stage will be held on August 26, 2021.


When are the group games played?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, December 1, 2020: Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Liverpool FC and AFC Ajax at Anfield. Liverpool won 1-0 to win the group and progress to the Round of 16. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

The Champions League group games will be played on the following dates:

Matchday 1 – September 14/15
Matchday 2 – September 28/29
Matchday 3 – October 19/20
Matchday 4 – November 2/3
Matchday 5 – November 23/24
Matchday 6 – December 7/8