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Key Champions League change that will delight Premier League managers

champions league

Champions League draw takes place on Thursday.

The Champions League group stage draw takes place on Thursday, with four Premier League clubs waiting to see who they will face.

Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea will all be in the hat and their managers will be delighted about a new schedule change that will only affect Premier League clubs.

 

BT Sport will no longer be asking teams to play domestic league games at 12.30pm on Saturdays, if they have been involved in Champions League action in the Wednesday leading up to it.

Instead, the broadcaster’s ‘primetime’ slot will now move to 19:45 on Saturdays, something that will give managers more time to prepare their sides and players more time to recover from demanding European nights and all the travelling that they entail.

The news is likely to delight Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp in particular after he railed against the quick turnarounds in a tense exchange with BT Sport’s Des Kelly in November of last year.

“This season it’s a bigger problem, and it’s not okay. We’ve had this slot three times. Look who else had it three times: nobody,” Klopp said.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer critical of previous system.

The German had an unlikely ally in form of Man United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who said after a 3-1 win over Everton: “Our players were set up to fail today with the schedule. I pushed my club to really fight the kick-off time on this one to give us at least half a chance, but it was quashed.”

As always, Champions League matches will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday nights this season.

The group stage line-up of 32 teams will be complete after the final play-off round matches on Wednesday.

The draw will take place at 5pm Irish time on Thursday, with Premier League champions Manchester City and Champions League holders Chelsea assigned to pot 1, along with Europa League winners Villarreal and the domestic champions of the other nations in the top six of Uefa’s rankings –  namely Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, Lille and Sporting Lisbon.

Despite being top seeds, the aforementioned clubs could face some stiff competition out of pot 2, which is made up of Manchester United, Liverpool, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Sevilla and Borussia Dortmund.

Pots 3 and 4 will be determined after completion of Wednesday’s fixtures and as usual, teams from the same nation can’t face each other in the group stage.

 

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