Liverpool sealed a top four place in the Premier League with a 3-0 win against Middlesbrough on Sunday, and in doing so took the last Champions League spot on offer.
However, they will still need to navigate through a playoff to reach the group stages, although results around Europe have made that task a lot easier for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
As calculated by the Liverpool Echo, Liverpool will be seeded for the playoff in August, and in doing so will avoid the likes of Sevilla and Napoli.
A lot was riding on results this weekend in determining Liverpool’s hopes of reaching the group stage, and not just at Anfield on Sunday. Dortmund’s clash with Werder Bremen and Hoffenheim against Augsburg in the Bundesliga would see one of those two qualify directly for the group stage with the other in the playoffs. Thankfully for Liverpool, the former did the business in a 4-3 win while the latter was held to a 0-0 draw.
In Russia, meanwhile, CSKA Moscow sealed a place in the playoff (albeit in the third round) thanks to a 4-0 victory against Anzhi, putting Zenit (who would have been seeded above Liverpool) in the Europa League.
Dynamo Kiev and Sevilla both have higher UEFA coefficients than Liverpool and both will be seeded higher, but the Reds will still be guaranteed a place on that side of the draw regardless of Ajax and Napoli/Roma’s results in the Europa League final and Serie A in the next week. Even in a worst case scenario, they would be fifth in the group of ten teams in that round, just enough to be seeded.
Hoffenheim and Sporting Lisbon will be unseeded but have already sealed a place in the fourth qualifying round, while (depending on third round results) they could be joined by the likes of Nice, Club Brugge, Steaua Bucharest and Young Boys, and potentially the likes of Viktoria Plzen, PAOK and Istanbul Başakşehir, depending on their final domestic league positions.
Nonetheless, what could have been a massive task for Liverpool to reach the group stages, while it will still be tricky, they have avoided the added problem of facing a fellow European heavyweight to book their place in the last 32.