Who could Liverpool play in Champions League last 16? Potential next round opponents revealed
The likes of PSG and Borussia Dortmund may still await Jurgen Klopp’s men despite securing top spot in Group B following a 2-0 victory over Atletico Madrid.
Usually, the Reds have a battle on their hands until the final fixture of the group stage. That’s what it was like in the past four seasons, anyway.
But after a 2-0 victory over Atletico Madrid at Anfield on Wednesday, Jurgen Klopp’s men advanced into the last 16 of Europe’s elite club competition with two games to spare.
Not only that, but Liverpool have already topped Group B.
That means they’ve given themselves an easier tie in the last 16. They’v earned the right to play one of the runners-up from the other seven groups.
Perhaps more importantly, there is the reward of a home tie in the second leg.
So as things stand, who could the Reds’ potential opponents be in the next stage of the Champions League? We take a look.
How things stand
- Group A: there appears only one possible opponent Liverpool could face in Group A - Paris Saint-Germain. With teams from the same nations unable to face each other until the quarter-finals, the Reds cannot draw Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s side are top with nine points and PSG sit a point behind in second. Club Brugge, on four points, still mathematically have a chance of qualification but it appears unlikely.
- Group C: Ajax have been mightily impressive and brag a perfect record. They need just a point to top the table. It’s a battle between Borussia Dortmund and Sporting Lisbon for the runners-up spot, with Besiktas losing each of their four games. A clash with Dortmund would see Klopp face his former club.
- Group D: Real Madrid, who knocked Liverpool out of the competition in the quarter-finals last season, sit at the summit with nine points. However, it’s not a foregone conclusion that’s where they’ll finish. Inter Milan are two points behind while surprise package Sheriff Tiraspol - of the Moldovan league - have six points.
- Group E: the 2020 champions Bayern Munich have been in their usual imperious form. They’ve yet to drop a point and just a draw in their remaining two games will see them claim first place. For second, it’s a fight between Barcelona and Benfica. Barca have six points, with Benfica two behind.
- Group F: the same country rule means the Reds can’t play Manchester United in the next round if they get through. Villareal are currently joint-top on seven points with United, while Atalanta have five. Young Boys still can’t be counted out of the frame on three points.
- Group G: this pool is wide open - and it’s probably one of the four teams Liverpool would want to face as it’s the weakest. Red Bull Salzburg are leading the race with seven points, with Lille and Wolfsburg two points in the rear. Sevilla are rooted to the bottom with three points but can’t be counted out.
- Group H: as things stand, the Reds won’t be facing anyone from this quartet. Juventus are top of the table with an unblemished record. Chelsea are three points back and Liverpool cannot play their Premier League rivals in the last 16. Zenit, on three points, are all but out of the race.