5 Premier League Clubs in Champions League Group Stage Is a New Record for England
Having as many as five clubs in the Champions League group stage this season represents a new record for English football, with Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United all flying the Premier League flag on the elite continental stage.
Normally awarded the maximum four places through domestic league qualification, three of which give automatic passage into the group stage, England has five places in 2017/18 by virtue of Manchester United winning the Europa League last season.
Champions League qualification was recently added as an incentive for clubs to win the secondary competition, with Sevilla the first team to benefit in 2015.
United go straight into the group stage as a result, with Liverpool's successful navigation of a two-legged qualifying round against Hoffenheim making England's total up to five.
With Scottish champions Celtic, who began this season's Champions League journey in the second qualifying round and have beaten Linfield, Rosenborg and Astana already to get this far, the number of 'British' teams in the group stage has swelled to six.
The Premier League has never before had five representatives in the Champions League group stage, although there was a chance it could have happened as far back as 2005/06.
Liverpool's Champions League triumph the previous season but failure to finish among England's top four domestically saw UEFA hand the Reds an extra place as holders. It was unprecedented because it was not automatically at the expense of the fourth place English team, which ironically happened to be local rivals Everton.
When Real Madrid missed out via their domestic league in 2000, but won the Champions League, they took their place in the competition at the expense of Real Zaragoza. The same happened when Chelsea won the Champions League in 2012, but finished 6th domestically, and were given a Champions League berth instead of 4th placed Tottenham the following season.
Yet in 2005/06, Everton's failure to get the better of Villarreal, who would impressively go on to reach the semi-finals of the competition, in the final qualifying round ensured there were actually only four English clubs in the group stage after all.
Only on one previous occasion has a country had five teams in the Champions League group stage - that was Spain in 2015/16 after Sevilla's Europa League win. The Andalucian club had finished 7th in La Liga the season before, but took their place on the elite stage alongside Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Valencia.