Providing Liverpool finish in the top four (not a forgone conclusion), we need to be actively backing Ajax in the Europa League Final to help us be seeded in the Champions League Final Play-Off Round…
Watching Manchester United lose will of course be brilliant, but there’s a more telling, actual reason to support the Dutch.
We’ll try and explain…!
If we finish fourth; then we’ll make it through to the Play-Off Round in a draw with ten other teams.
The teams that make up are as follows:
– Spain, Germany and England (4th place)
– Italy and Portugal (3rd place)
– Five teams that come through from the Third Qualifying Round
How the draw works is that five teams are seeded and face the five teams that are not, with seeding entirely based on coefficient rankings.
Because of the fact we’ve barely been in the Champions League for some time, we’re below a number of sides who could potentially make up the ten Play-Off contenders.
But we desperately need to make the ‘Top 5’ to guarantee an easier draw and potential ties with Sevilla or Borussia Dortmund.
Below, courtesy of talkSPORT, is a list of sides who have potential to qualify for the Play-Off Round and their current coefficient ranking:
1. Borussia Dortmund (124.899)
2. Sevilla (112.771)
3. Arsenal (105.021)
4. Manchester City (100.021)
5. Napoli (88.499)
6. Zenit (87.106)
7. Dynamo Kiev (67.526)
8. Ajax (64.092)
9. Liverpool (56.021)
10. Roma (53.566)
11. PSV Eindhoven (46.172)
12. Besiktas (45.840)
13. Viktoria Plzen (40.635)
14. CSKA Moscow (39.606)
15. Club Brugge (39.480)
16. Sporting (36.866)
17. Gent (35.480)
18. PAOK (35.080)
19. Young Boys (28.915)
20. Nice (16.766)
21. Istanbul Basaksehir (10.340)
22. Slavia Prague (8.135)
=23. Hoffenheim (0)
=23. Steaua Bucharest (0)
So, Liverpool need to first finish fourth – and then hope FOUR of the teams with a better coefficient in this list DO NOT require Champions League qualification through the Play-Off Round.
If Ajax beat United, they’ll go straight into the Group Stages – thus ‘bumping’ us up the potential seeding list through their absence.
If Dortmund win at the weekend, they’ll finish third and go straight into the Group Stages, doing the same thing.
We could also do with Napoli bettering Roma for automatic qualification and CSKA bettering Zenit.
If we finish fourth, that means Arsenal won’t have qualified and City will have qualified automatically in third.
This will ensure we’re seeded and get a theoretically easier Play-Off draw!
It’s all hypothetical of course, as we need to beat ‘Boro on Saturday – but if we do – we’re all Ajax fans – FOR TWO REASONS!