New Champions League format: What does it mean for Liverpool’s chances of qualifying moving forward?
What could the new Champions League format mean for Liverpool?
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Liverpool still have a top four finish set in their sights and are therefore still in with a shot of securing Champions League football next season. If they do so, they will compete in the tournament’s current format for the final time.
The Champions League is set to undergo a remodel which will switch up the entire group stages as we know them. UEFA has finally confirmed how the new format will look and it’s certainly going to be a dramatic change.
Let’s take a look at what it could mean for six-time champions Liverpool once the new rules come into play in the 2024/25 season.
The usual 32 qualifying teams will be extended to 36 and all will compete against each other in one big table, rather than in the separate groups of four we are all used to. Each club will play eight fixtures — four at home, and four away — and they will be competing for points and goal difference.
The eight with the most points at the top of the table will automatically advance into the knockouts. The next 16 teams will enter a play-off round to fight for the last eight spots in the round of 16. The bottom eight will be knocked out of the tournament, and both the Europa League and Europa Conference League will follow the same structure.
This is being referred to as the ‘Swiss System’ and it will certainly be an adjustment for fans, and much harder to follow at first.
In regards to the extra four qualifying spots, only one will go to a club from the Champions Path in qualification — which is the route taken by the less wealthy leagues in Europe. A second slot will be given to a team from the country who place fifth in UEFA’s national association ranking.
The two remaining spaces will go to an extra team from the two countries with the best combined finish in UEFA tournaments. As it stands this season, that would be the fifth-placed club in the Premier League, and another club from the Netherlands.
This means Liverpool would currently qualify for next season’s Champions League, if the new format was already in place.
So far, there has been no confirmation on how the new draw format will be structured, but it is likely to be from pots.