Liverpool have qualified for the Champions League for the second time in seven years after beating Middlesbrough on the final day of the season.
Jurgen Klopp’s side knew that three points against the already relegated side would be enough to secure a top-four finish - although they were also hoping Manchester City might slip-up against Watford meaning they could pip them to third.
However, City smashed the Hornets 5-0 meaning Liverpool’s 3-0 win was only good enough for fourth.
Liverpool fans won’t care about the prospect of a Champions League qualifier right now but, come August, they will have a further two matches to play to access the group stage.
Last week, came the realisation that Liverpool could well be unseeded in the draw. That would mean facing one of the five toughest sides in the qualification stage.
However, not only did Liverpool win at the weekend, but the fact that Borussia Dortmund finished third and CSKA Moscow finished second in their respective leagues means they will now be seeded for qualifying.
So, what does that mean?
Well, it means that they’re more likely to face a slightly easier opponent in their Champions League playoff.
But who will that be?
Well, those teams that finish fourth in the Premier League (Liverpool), La Liga (Sevilla) and the Bundesliga (Hoffenheim) and those who finish third in Serie A (Napoli or Roma), third in Primeira Liga (Sporting Lisbon) automatically qualify for the final round of qualifying.
They are met by five teams that have progressed through the third round of qualifying that are made up from the following countries: France (3rd), Holland (2nd), Ukraine (2nd), Russia (2nd), Belgium (2nd), Czech Republic (2nd), Turkey (2nd), Switzerland (2nd), Romania (2nd), Greece (2nd).
So, at the moment the five seeded teams are:
Sevilla, Napoli or Roma, Dynamo Kiev*, Ajax*, Liverpool.
And these are currently the unseeded teams:
Sporting Lisbon, Viktoria Plzen*, CSKA Moscow*, Club Brugge*, Steaua Bucharest*, Young Boys*, Hoffenheim, Nice*, Istanbul Basaksehir/Besiktas*, PAOK/Panathinaikos*.
*= teams that enter the third qualifying round and will need to progress to the final playoff.
So, Liverpool are likely to face one of those teams in the unseeded pot. Nothing too difficult, right?
Klopp wants to finish the job
While there might not be too much to worry about, Klopp will be desperate for his side to finish the job and overcome the two-legged tie.
And immediately after the victory over Middlesbrough, he was keen to ensure that they didn’t get carried away with already celebrating a place in the group stage.
“I am not saying we are already in but I am already looking forward to it,” he said.
“We will be really strong and will really fight for it. We want to be there.”
The first leg of the final qualifying round will be played on 15/16 August, with the return legs played the week after on 22/23 August.
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