Liverpool to be seeded for 2017-18 Champions League play-off round draw in August

Liverpool to be seeded for 2017-18 Champions League play-off round draw in August

Liverpool qualified for the Champions League by virtue of finishing fourth in the Premier League on Sunday, but will be seeded for the play-off round they must first progress through to reach the group stages of the European competition.

charlie-malam
Charlie Malam

Liverpool will be seeded in the Champions League play-off round in August after results across Europe went their way.

A 3-0 final day victory at home to Middlesbrough at Anfield on Sunday guaranteed a top-four finish, but Manchester City's win at Watford meant Liverpool finished fourth.

As a result Liverpool will have to endure a round of qualifying in order to reach the group stages.

They initially faced the prospect of a tricky tie against the likes of Sevilla or one of Napoli or Roma if they were one of the five non-seeded teams, but will instead be seeded after CSKA Moscow and Borussia Dortmund won at the weekend.

Dortmund's 4-3 Bundesliga victory over Werder Bremen, courtesy of an 89th-minute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang penalty, ensured a third-placed finish, putting them straight into the groups.

Jürgen Klopp's former side's win also meant that Hoffenheim - with a lower UEFA co-efficient - will go into the play-off round and will be one of the unseeded teams, as opposed to Liverpool - who risked being unseeded if Dortmund were in the same round as them. 

Reds must wait to learn play-off opponent

CSKA also won 4-0 against Anzhi Makhachkala, meaning they will reach the Champions League play-off rather than Zenit St. Petersburg - who also have a higher co-efficient than Liverpool and would have been seeded.

Those results ensure that of the five teams who can make the final round of qualifying, only Sevilla - Liverpool's 2015-16 Europa League final conquerors - Napoli (in position to finish third with one Serie A game remaining), Ajax and Dynamo Kiev can be higher than them.

That does not hand Liverpool an easy draw, however. Klopp's side can still face Portuguese runners-up Sporting Lisbon, Germany's fourth-placed side Hoffenheim or even Nice, who came third in France.

If Ajax beat Liverpool's Premier League rivals Manchester United in the Europa League final on Wednesday night, then they will progress straight to the group stages - with Sporting Lisbon most likely to claim their spot as a seeded club.

The draw is scheduled to take place in Nyon on Friday, August 4, with the first-leg on August 16/17 with the return the following week, on August 22/23. 

Those dates fall between Liverpool's first and second Premier League games of the campaign, with their third to follow just days after the second-leg.

While they have to wait some time to learn of their European opponents, their league fixture list for 2017-18 will be unveiled on June 14.

Should Liverpool make it into the group stages of the Champions League then the draw will take place on August 24, with the first round of group games commencing on September 12/13 and the sixth and final round on December 05/06.

Champions League play-off round draw

Seeded clubs: Sevilla, Napoli or Roma, Dynamo Kiev*, Ajax*, Liverpool

Unseeded clubs (five of 10 will qualify): Sporting Lisbon, Hoffenheim, Viktoria Plzen*, CSKA Moscow*, Club Brugge*, Steaua Bucharest*, Young Boys*, Nice*, İstanbul Başakşehir  or Beşiktaş*, runners-up in Greece*

* - Teams that start out in the third qualifying round

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