At 11 AM BST (6 AM EST) tomorrow, Friday, August 4th, Liverpool will learn who they will face for the two-legged home and away Champions League playoff. Last night, the potential field narrowed down to five clubs:
- Steaua Bucharest (UEFA Coefficient #76)
- Young Boys (UEFA Coefficient: #81)
- Nice (UEFA Coefficient #107)
- Hoffenheim (UEFA Coefficient #125)
- Istanbul Basaksehir (UEFA Coefficient #150)
The two legs will take place between the the Watford and Crystal Palace match, and again between Palace and Arsenal on August 15-16th and 22-23rd, respectively. Arsenal will no doubt be disappointed not to be participating in their annual 4th place trophy matches.
Although Istanbul might be the best match-up on paper, the extra travel involved might make a trip to Switzerland, France, or Germany preferable. If Liverpool draw Nice, they will face off against oldboy Mario Balotelli, whereas our own Roberto Firmino could be reunited with his old club Hoffenheim, should the Ping Pong Balls of Destiny so dictate.
Also in last night’s action, Energy Drink Salzburg were eliminated.
The last English club to fail qualify for the Champions League group stages through the play-off was Everton in 2005-06.