After having to play catch up in the final weeks of last season to secure a qualification place, Liverpool are relieved just to be back in the Champions League in 2021/22 but curiously, not being one of the top-ranked teams just might prove favourable next term.
Back on March 7, Liverpool were languishing in eighth place in the Premier League table but a 10-game unbeaten run at the end of the campaign, a spell that included eight wins, propelled them into third.
After regaining their title lost to Jurgen Klopp’s side in 2019/20, Manchester City are in pot one along with last season’s Champions League winners Chelsea but due to the one club per nation rule in the group stages, the Reds cannot be paired with either.
So while their 2020 conquerors Atletico Madrid are in pot one along with that year’s tournament winners Bayern Munich, there’s Serie A champions Internazionale plus surprise domestic title winners Lille and Sporting CP plus Europa League winners Villarreal.
That leaves some of the continent’s heavyweights in Pot Two with Liverpool and therefore heading into different groups, such as Real Madrid who knocked them out of the competition at the quarter-finals stage last season, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla and Manchester United with all but the latter being possibly drawn with Manchester City or Chelsea.
Porto, Ajax, RB Leipzig, Atalanta and Zenit are confirmed in Pot 3, while AC Milan, Wolfsburg, Dynamo Kyiv, Besiktas and Club Brugge are still waiting to find out which pot they will be in based on the qualifying rounds, which are currently in progress.
Clubs currently involved in that process include PSV Eindhoven, Rangers, Shakhtar Donetsk and Benfica, but both Celtic and Galatasaray have already been eliminated at the second qualifying round.
Pots 3 and 4 will only be completely confirmed once the qualifying rounds come to an end later this month.
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