Does Man United’s Europa League win mean they could draw Liverpool in the UCL?

first_imgLiverpool were celebrating Champions League qualification last weekend, but it’s Manchester United who have secured a group stage place in the 2017/18 competition.Jurgen Klopp’s Reds finished fourth in the Premier League, which puts them into the last qualifying round for Europe’s premier tournament.But while Jose Mourinho could only guide United to sixth, triumph in the Europa League means they qualify directly for the Champions League proper.Should Liverpool make it past the qualifying round, in which they will be seeded, the Premier League will have five clubs in the group stage.The last time that could have happened was in the 2005/06 season, when UEFA gave special dispensation for Liverpool to enter the Champions League in the first qualifying round, as holders, having finished outside the Premier League top four.Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United qualified automatically for the group stage that year, with fourth-placed Everton entering in the final qualifying round, only to be knocked out against Villarreal.Liverpool made it through to the group stage, but due to the nature of their qualification, were not given ‘association protection’ – meaning they could be drawn against another Premier League club in the groups.They were duly placed in Group G against Premier League champions Chelsea, with both clubs making it through to the last 16.Next season, however, there is no way two Premier League clubs could face each other in the group stages, no matter what pot they are placed in (teams will be drawn from four pots in the draw – pot one being for national champions, and pots two to four decided by UEFA co-efficient scores).According to Article 16.01 of UEFA’s current Champions League regulations, clubs from the same association cannot drawn into the same group. 2 Could Liverpool and Man United ignite their rivalry in the Champions League? 2 This also applies in the last 16, so the prospect of Liverpool and Manchester United meeting in the Champions League for the first time could only take place in the quarter-finals onwards.And with the Premier League’s poor recent record in the competition, both clubs will need to buck the form book for that to happen.last_img

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