Champions League: Who could Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea and Man Utd draw?

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The 2020/21 Champions League campaign is nearing the group stages.

The draw for the first non-qualifying round of Europe's premier competition is always one of the most exciting dates in the footballing calendar and can have huge impacts on the entire season.

Wind up with a fortunate draw and you can rest players on a easy ride to the round of 16, while a difficult group could see you facing five-hour Europa League away days throughout 2021.

Champions League group stage draw

If nothing else, though, it serves us up with some blockbuster continental clashes before we even get into the ruthless knockout stages and we can't wait for things to get underway.

The ceremony itself is just two days away with Nyon, Switzerland playing host to both the annual UEFA awards gala and the group-stage draw that everybody's looking forward to.

The draw will take place at 4pm (BST) with coverage starting at 3.45pm on BT Sport 1 and will decide the fate of four Premier League clubs in Europe until the calendar year is out.

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Four Premier League teams in action

This year's representatives from English shores come in the form of 2019 winners Liverpool, 2012 victors Chelsea, three-time champions Manchester United and finally, Manchester City.

We are still a few hours away from finding out exactly how the pots will finish with six play-off games to be completed, but we already have a pretty good idea of the potential scenarios.

Pots one and two are already finalised with Liverpool in the former and their three club compatriots in the latter, while four European big-hitters are confirmed in pot three.

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Best and worse case scenarios

So, ahead of the final puzzle pieces falling into place, we've decided to assess the best and worst-case scenarios for all English clubs over the course of the play-offs and the draw itself.

Naturally, it's impossible to fully predict who will be the bogey teams and easy wins for certain clubs, but we've given it our best shot and you can check out the various outcomes below:

*Potential outcomes are correct at the time of writing ahead of the final play-off games*

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Pot one

Liverpool

Best-case scenario: Shakhtar Donetsk, Gent and AC Omonia

Worst-case scenario: Barcelona, Inter Milan and Marseille

It's fair to say Liverpool would be feeling pretty confident if that best-case scenario transpired with Donetsk already confirmed in pot two and the other two clubs resting on play-off results.

You'd have to fear for Gent if they recover from their 2-1 first leg defeat to Dynamo Kyiv, while Cyprus' Omonia, who haven't surpassed the qualifying rounds since the 1980s, would surely be whipping boys.

As for the worst-case scenario, Liverpool certainly have scope for both losing and winning against Barcelona who, despite their 2020 woes, are the pick of the non-English bunch from 2020.

Inter Milan are a tough team to pull out of the hat from pot three and will be omnipresent in our lists, while Marseille are admittedly pretty beatable despite being pot four's toughest offering.

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Pot two

Manchester United

Best-case scenario: Zenit Saint Petersburg, Gent and AC Omonia

Worst-case scenario: Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Marseille

Manchester City

Best-case scenario: Zenit Saint Petersburg, Gent and AC Omonia

Worst-case scenario: Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Marseille

Chelsea

Best-case scenario: Zenit Saint Petersburg, Gent and AC Omonia

Worst-case scenario: Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Marseille

The remaining three teams are in pot two and they'll all be keeping their fingers tightly crossed that Zenit emerge from the pot above them when it comes to drawing their 'toughest' opponent.

Otherwise, they could face a nasty trip to reigning champions Bayern, which would be a particularly scary prospect for Chelsea after the Bavarians smashed seven past them across two legs.

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Like Liverpool, the easiest options from pots three and four are pretty straight-forward, although our best-case scenario is so optimistic that Gent and Omonia could fall short of qualifying.

And in terms of the worst-case scenario, you'd have to think that all three teams - besides, perhaps City - would be at risk of dropping down to the Europa League if it actually transpired.

That's a pretty worrying thought when you consider, unlike the ideal scenario, Bayern and Inter are already confirmed in their pots and Marseille are only a few results away from being locked in, too.

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GIVEMESPORT's Kobe Tong says

The Champions League seems to throw up a 'Group of Death' every season without fail and with three English clubs in pot three, you've got to fear for one of United, Chelsea or City.

It's a bit of a long-running joke that City always end up with generous draws, so it wouldn't be surprising to either see their fortunes continue or for things to finally catch up with them.

Nevertheless, despite their defensive woes, I'm actually backing Pep Guardiola's men as England's most likely candidate to wrestle 'Big Ears' out of Bayern's hands this season.

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I wouldn't be surprised if Guardiola waves goodbye to the Etihad Stadium when his contract expires next summer and therefore, he'll pile all his resources into the Champions League.

Naturally, Liverpool are the next bet best for European glory, but I fear that United and Chelsea will have to settle for the quarter-finals at best unless there's to be some shocks on the cards.

All that being said, no matter how the final play-offs and group stage draw pan out, you just know that the Champions League will tee us up with some glorious fixtures to look forward to. 

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