By 90Min
August 28, 2019

Liverpool players, staff and fans alike are eagerly awaiting this week’s Champions League draw that will map out the first hurdles that lie between the Reds and becoming only the second club in 30 years to successfully defend their title.

With the draw to take place in Monaco on Thursday, Jurgen Klopp’s side will take their place among the top seeds in pot one and will be an opponent feared by many.

Here's who they could face, who they'll be hoping to meet and who they'll want to avoid...

Virgil van Dijk

Pot 1

Pot one is reserved for the Champions League holders, the Europa League holders and the reigning national champions of Europe’s six top-ranked domestic leagues, meaning Liverpool and Chelsea join the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City.

None of these teams will face each other in the group stage as the draw will place one club from each of the draw pots (1-4) into the eight groups (A-H).

Pot 1 UEFA Club Coefficient
Liverpool (CL) 91.000
Barcelona 138.000
Bayern Munich 128.000
Juventus 124.000
Manchester City 106.000
Paris Saint-Germain 103.000
Zenit St Petersburg 72.000
Chelsea (EL) 87.000

Best Case Draw: N/A
Worst Case Draw: N/A

Pot 2

As holders, Liverpool have no need to fear anyone in the competition, but pot two holds plenty of potential dangers for the Reds. They cannot face Tottenham in a repeat of last season’s final because country protection will remain in force until the quarter-final stage, but it would certainly be preferable to avoid Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in particular at this stage.

Shakhtar Donetsk would represent a lengthy midweek away trip at some point. So, as things stand, before all the qualifiers and pots are fully finalised, Benfica are the lowest-ranked team in pot two and probably the most favourable to get drawn with.

Pot 2 UEFA Club Coefficient
Real Madrid 146.000
Atletico Madrid 127.000
Borussia Dortmund 85.000
Napoli 80.000
Shakhtar Donetsk 80.000
Tottenham Hotspur 78.000
Benfica 68.000

Andy Robertson,Nikola Maksimovic

This is where it gets a little more complicate, depending on the final qualifiers on Wednesday night, Ajax or Lyon could be the final club in pot two. Ajax will make it if they overcome APOEL in the playoff round, but Lyon would take that place if not. Despite a lower ranking, both Ajax and Lyon would arguably be less preferable than facing Benfica.

Pot 2 or 3 UEFA Club Coefficient
Olympique Lyonnais 61.500
Pot 2, 3 or 4 UEFA Club Coefficient
APOEL or Ajax 25.000 or 70.500

Should Cypriot champions APOEL win that qualifier against Ajax they would go into a lower pot, which will be determined by their UEFA Club Coefficient once every club is known.

Best Case Draw: Benfica
Worst Case Draw: Real Madrid

Pot 3

Pot three is littered with potentially dangerous clubs. Set to be much improved this season, Inter have only recently returned to elite European competition last year, explaining their low UEFA ranking. Their place in pot three is arguably not reflective of their actual quality.

Even Red Bull Salzburg might be more of a danger than fans expect, despite Austrian club football not typically being noted for being very strong. Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiacos stand out as favourable pot three teams.

Pot 3 UEFA Club Coefficient
Bayer Leverkusen 61.000
Red Bull Salzburg 54.500
Olympiacos 44.000
Valencia 37.000
Internazionale 31.000
Dinamo Zagreb 29.500
Pot 3 or 4 UEFA Club Coefficient
Lokomotiv Moscow 28.500
LASK Linz or Club Brugge 6.250 or 39.500

Best Case Draw: Dinamo Zagreb

Worst Case Draw: Inter

Pot 4

For big clubs looking to reach the knockout stages with minimal strain, pot four is always about drawing a favourable team that doesn't involve a lengthy or hostile away trip. That is why Galatasaray and Red Star Belgrade, the latter of whom beat Liverpool last season, are probably best avoided. However, closer to home, Atalanta and RB Leipzig are also tough prospects.

Pot 4 UEFA Club Coefficient
Genk 25.000
Galatasaray 22.500
RB Leipzig 22.000
Red Star Belgrade 16.750
Atalanta 14.945
Lille 11.699
Cluj or Slavia Prague 3.500 or 21.500

Having lost Nicolas Pepe to Arsenal, as well as other top players, Lille might be a good team to face on their return to the Champions League. Genk, similarly, or Romanian champions Cluj would be the lowest-ranked side in the competition if they make it through qualifying.

Best Case Draw: Genk

Worst Case Draw: RB Leipzig

Once the draw is made, group stage fixtures will begin on 17/18 September and conclude 11 weeks later on 10/11 December, followed by the knockout draw soon after.

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