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Here's The Dream & Nightmare Champions League Draws For Liverpool

Here's The Dream & Nightmare Champions League Draws For Liverpool
By Gary Connaughton

32 teams will learn their Champions League fate later this afternoon, with the draw for the competition's group stage taking place at Grimaldi Forum in Monaco.

It is always an exciting occasion as clubs find out what parts of the continent they will travel to over the coming months. Of course, much of that optimism can sapped away if you are handed a tough draw.

The seeded nature of the group stage ensures that most of the big guns will be kept apart, but there is still the potential for a 'group of death' to emerge.

Champions League winners Liverpool, Europa League winners Chelsea, and Premier League champions Manchester City are all in pot 1, while Spurs find themselves in pot 2. Clubs from the same nation cannot be drawn in the same group, so we won't be seeing any all English clashes that early on.

For Liverpool, they will be looking to reach a third successive Champions League final for the first time in their history. While they will be favourites no matter what group they find themselves in, their lives could be made a lot easier depending on the draw. Here's their (as well as Chelsea's and Manchester City's) best and worst case scenarios:

The Dream Draw

  • Liverpool
  • Benfica
  • Brugge
  • Prague

Pot 2 is quite strong this year, with the likes of Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund all present. Avoiding those three would be a big boost, and while Benfica are no pushovers, they are preferable to a trip to the Ukraine to take on Shakhtar Donetsk. A depleted Ajax side could also be considered a kinder draw.

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A reunion with the recently departed Simon Mignolet would be a good option from pot 3, with Belgian side Brugge having little recent pedigree in this competition. They haven't won a group stage game since 2005, although they have advanced beyond the qualifiers on a couple of recent occasions. Dinamo Zagreb would be their next best option.

Slavia Prague would be the kindest draw to receive from pot 4, avoiding a number of tricky looking opponents. This is their first foray into the group stage since the 2007/08 season, a run which featured a 7-0 thumping at the hands of Arsenal.

The Nightmare Draw

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  • Liverpool
  • Real Madrid
  • Inter Milan
  • RB Leipzig

Yikes.

Real Madrid may no longer be the power they once were, but you would probably prefer to steer clear of them in the group stage. Zinedine Zidane will likely lead them back to some sort of good form sooner rather than later, and that could result in a difficult Champions League opponent. Atletico Madrid would be the other team you'd want to avoid here.

Inter Milan are fresh off a summer of big spending, and with Antonio Conte in charge, they will be an incredibly difficult side to beat.

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Atalanta may be the best team in pot 4, but with Inter already in the group another Italian side can't feature. That leaves RB Leipzig, with the German club making their second foray into Europe's premier club competition. With a number of supremely talented players, they would certainly be a tougher opponents than the other bottom seeds.

Here's the pots in full:

Pot 1: Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City, Barcelona, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Zenit St Petersburg, Paris Saint-Germain.

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Pot 2: Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Napoli, Shakhtar Donetsk, Tottenham, Benfica, Ajax.

Pot 3: LyonBayer Leverkusen, RB Salzburg, Valencia, Inter, Dinamo Zagreb, Olympiakos, Brugge.

Pot 4: Lokomotiv Moscow, Genk, Galatasaray, RB Leipzig, Prague, Atalanta, Lille, Red Star Belgrade.

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SEE ALSO: Mick McCarthy Confirms 25-Man Squad For Switzerland And Bulgaria Games

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