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What Man City, Chelsea and Manchester United European finals mean for Liverpool in Champions League – Liverpool Echo

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https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/what-man-city-chelsea-manchester-20664838

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Once the relief and celebrations after qualifying for next season’s Champions League have passed, Liverpool will be left with a strange feeling this week.

England’s most successful side in Europe, in recent years the Reds have been competing in Champions League finals or fighting for Premier League titles as they finish their season on centre-stage.

But now their campaign is over, this time they will be sidelined as three of their rivals battle for European glory instead.

Manchester United take on Villarreal in the Europa League final on Wednesday before Man City and Chelsea lock horns in the Champions League final on Saturday.

In normal circumstances, Liverpool would begrudgingly watch on with envy. But this year, both games could have a direct impact on the Reds’ fortunes next season.

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Champions League winners in 2019 and Premier League champions in 2020, Jurgen Klopp‘s men have been guaranteed a place in pot one when it came to the following year’s continental competition as a result.

But, having finished third and already exited Europe, they will have to make do with a place in pot two next season instead.

As a result, the winners of both the Champions League and Europa League finals could help determine how tough a group draw Liverpool are handed.

Atletico Madrid, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, Lille and Sporting Lisbon have already booked their places in pot one for next season as domestic champions, and will be joined by the winners of this year’s Champions League and Europa League.

Therefore both Chelsea and Manchester United could find themselves in pot one if they win the Champions League and Europa League respectively, while, Zenit St Petersburg are set to step up if it is Pep Guardiola’s side who emerge triumphant in the former.

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With sides from the same nation unable to face each other in the Champions League group-stages, Liverpool find themselves in the unusual situation of wanting Man City to be crowned European champions as a result, as well as the rather more familiar feeling of wishing defeat upon Manchester United and Chelsea.

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If Man City are the only English team in pot one, then the Reds would face one of Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, Lille, Sporting Lisbon, Zenit St Petersburg and Villarreal next season.

Bayern are no doubt the most formidable of those opponents, ahead of Atletico and Inter, but the Reds would fancy their chances of a kind draw.

However, if Chelsea and/or Manchester United joined Man City in pot one, Liverpool would be more likely to take on Bayern, for example, due to the reduced number of sides they would be eligible to be drawn against.

It might only be small margins and Klopp’s side will back themselves against any opposition, provided they avoid the injuries that have decimated their squad this season.

But that doesn’t tear away from the fact that a one-in-five chance of being drawn against the mighty Bayern Munich is rather unattractive when compared to the prospect of one-in-seven.

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