BRAGA, PORTUGAL, Wednesday, March 9, 2011: An official Adidas match ball on the turf as Liverpool players begin training at the Estadio Municipal de Braga ahead of the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 1st leg match against Sporting Clube de Braga. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Who can Liverpool face in the Europa League?

The confirmation of August and September’s fixtures, brought it home: Liverpool and Thursday night football.

Reds supporters can get used to Thursday night and Sunday afternoon games this coming season, with the first Europa League matchday in late September (21st), followed by West Ham at home on Sunday 24th, a 2pm kick off not shown on TV in the UK.

Welcome to the Europa League.

It’s very early on the qualifying for Europe’s second-tier competition, but we’ve taken a look at who Liverpool’s potential opponents can be in the group stage – and beyond that in the knockout stages.


Teams Liverpool cannot face in group stage

This part is a little easier – the teams that will also be seeded in pot one, and therefore Liverpool can’t draw them in the group stage, but could face them in the later knockout stages:

West Ham, Roma, Villarreal, Bayer Leverkusen, Atalanta

The Reds also cannot face Brighton in the group stage.

Those bigger sides above, plus the ones dropping out of the Champions League, will form the bulk of the potential opponents in the latter knockout rounds.


Confirmed potential opponents

2PNX87A Lisbon, Portugal. 20th Apr, 2023. Manuel Ugarte from Sporting CP in action during the UEFA Europa League Quarter-Finals, 2nd Leg football match between Sporting CP and Juventus FC at Estadio Jose Alvalade. Final score: Sporting CP 1:1 Juventus FC (Photo by Bruno de Carvalho/SOPA Images/Sipa USA) Credit: Sipa US/Alamy Live News

There are a handful of sides who have qualified for the Europa League but aren’t in the top seeded group, and therefore are among the potential opponents in the group stages, these are:

Real Betis, Freiburg, Sporting CP, Toulouse, Rennes


And the likely others…

With play off qualifiers taking place throughout August, it won’t be until the evening of August 31, after the final play-off second-leg ties, that we’ll know all the potential group stage opponents and thus the 32 teams entering the competition.

Among the likely options though, are: Slavia Prague, Olympiacos, Ajax, LASK, Aberdeen, Union Saint-Gilloise, FC Lugano, Zorya Luhansk, FK Cukaricki.


When are the group stage matchdays?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, May 5, 2016: Liverpool and Villarreal players before the UEFA Europa League Semi-Final 2nd Leg match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Matchday 1: 21 September 2023
Matchday 2: 5 October 2023
Matchday 3: 26 October 2023
Matchday 4: 9 November 2023
Matchday 5: 30 November 2023
Matchday 6: 14 December 2023

The group stage draw takes place on September 1.


And the final…?

You’ve probably heard by now, the final is in Dublin, on May 22. That would be interesting!

Winning the Europa League also guarantees qualification into the Champions League the following season.

New signing Dominic Szoboszlai has said it best: “I can accept that I won’t be able to play in [the Champions League] for a year, and I have a goal: to win the Europa League.”