Liverpool have now learned that we will NOT be in the top seeded group for Friday’s Europa League draw. The Reds’ UEFA coefficient, which is based on results in Europe over the last five years, has dropped to 47.078 and that has left us ranked outside the competitions’ twelve best entrants.
Similar to the draw for the group stages of any major competition – there will be one top seed in each of the dozen qualification groups, along with one second seed, one third seed and so on. Each group will take five teams, meaning that we should – on paper – still be the second best team in our group.
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Of course, we would all like to think that we’ll be able to hold our own against any of the top seeds. The full list of first seeds is yet to be determined – due to the fact that the final round of play-off games aren’t completed until tonight – but we now know that whatever the outcome, we won’t be a part of that select group.
As a result, we could face one of Schalke, Basel, Napoli, Villarreal, Sporting Lisbon, Marseille or last year’s runners-up Dnipro. Tottenham are also a top seed but we’re not permitted to play a team from the same country at this stage.
The strongest teams still looking to seal qualification include Athletic Bilbao, Ajax and Borussia Dortmund.
Celtic and Club Brugge – who were thrashed by Manchester United in Champions League qualifying – are the other two teams definitely placed in pot two, so we know that we won’t be playing either of them at this stage of the competition.