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Thursday, 28 August 2008

Liverpool: Champions' League Draw - best/worst case scenario

Liverpool struggled manfully over two legs against Standard Liege of Belgium - but there are no points awarded for performances, just results. And although Liverpool may be a touch fortunate to be in the draw - that will be no indicator as to how well they will do when the tournament heats up in 2009. Last season Liverpool also struggled early in the competition, but got bad results as well as performances.
Perhaps getting good results from bad performances point to a stellar season for the Reds as the results will look after themselves in the second half of the season.

The four English teams are in the top seeded group within the draw for the Champions' League groups - which does not help in thinning out potential opponents; but with AC Milan and Sevilla missing out domestically Real Madrid and Inter have also sneaked into the top pot along with Barca and Lyon.

Pot two does not contain an obviously weak option, although Juventus have been missing from European football for a couple of years and Liverpool often fair well against Italian opposition. Alternatively the short trip to PSV Eindhoven will also be welcome. Bayern Munich have improved every season since the nadir of 2003/4 and will probably be a top seed next year - best avoided at this stage.

The UEFA Cup winners Zenit St Petersburg are a dangerous floater in pot three; but this pot is packed with teams that have caused Liverpool problems in recent years - Celtic, Marseilles and Basle amongst them. A safe-ish option would probably be Steaua Bucharest or Panathinaikos.

Pot four is a real snake pit; there are four teams to avoid and four teams without pedigree at the top level. Of the four teams to avoid two involve long journeys - which is always bad; but an emotional pair of games against Atlético Madrid would probably be worse. Liverpool need Fernando Torres fully focused and this would be a struggle against Atlético. Any of the newcomers would be a good draw, CRF Cluj (Romania, ranked 109th), AaB Aalborg (Denmark, ranked 108th), Anorthosis Famagusta (Cyprus, ranked 161st), BATE Borisov (Belarus, ranked 174th) - with the short travelling time to Denmark suggesting that getting the first team in the football alphabet Aab Aalborg would be nice.

Best Case: Liverpool Juventus Steaua Bucharest Aab Aalborg

Worst Case: Liverpool Bayern Munich Marseilles Atlético Madrid

How the draw works:

Pot one: Chelsea, Liverpool, Barcelona, Arsenal, Manchester United, Lyons, Inter Milan, Real Madrid

Pot two: Bayern Munich, PSV Eindhoven, Villarreal, AS Roma, FC Porto, Werder Bremen, Sporting Lisbon, Juventus

Pot three: Marseilles, Zenit St Petersburg, Steaua Bucharest, Panathinaikos, Bordeaux, Celtic, FC Basle, Fenerbahçe

Pot four: Shakhtar Donetsk, Fiorentina, Atlético Madrid, Dynamo Kiev, CRF Cluj, AaB Aalborg, Anorthosis Famagusta, BATE Borisov

Clubs are drawn in eight groups of four, with teams playing each other home and away and the top two clubs progressing to the last 16, at which point the tournament reverts to a knockout format. Clubs from the same country cannot be drawn against each other in the group stage.

COMMENTS

TheMightyReds

It seems that liverpool got the worst case but am confident liverpool will pass through but not that easy thought

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