The draw for the 2018 World Cup taking place today, we now know who Liverpool’s stars will be facing off against in the group stages next summer, starting with captain Jordan Henderson and the English contingent, were drawn first into Group G and paired up with Simon Mignolet’s Belgium.
Panama and Tunisia round out a group both European nations will expect to advance from, and Henderson seems certain to be joined by club teammates Adam Lallana and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain while Daniel Sturridge, Nathaniel Clyne, Joe Gomez, and Dominic Solanke could also be chosen.
For Belgium, loanee Divock Origi will join Mignolet, though neither will be expected to see significant minutes if Thibaut Courtois and Romelu Lukaku are fit. The presence of England along with Belgium likely means Group G will be the one Liverpool fans are watching most closely next summer.
For those without an English rooting interest, though, Mohamed Salah and Egypt’s generous draw into Group A along with Uruguay, Saudi Arabia, and hosts Russia will be fascinating to watch play out. It’s by far the weakest group on paper, and all but the Saudis could reasonably be expected to advance.
Sadio Mané and Senegal, on the other hand, have things it tougher in Group H with Poland, Colombia, and Japan, but after a strong qualification run there will be hopes they can pull off an upset or two and earn a spot in the knockout rounds of next summer’s tournament.
Then there’s Brazil, who should be able to advance from a Group E with Switzerland, Costa Rica, and Serbia, though whether they have two Liverpool players in Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino or just one of them by the time the World Cup kicks off is an open question.
Rounding things out, there’s also Emre Can and Germany in a tough Group F with Mexico, Sweden, and South Korea; Dejan Lovren and Croatia with Argentina, Nigeria, and Iceland in Group D; and maybe even Alberto Moreno with Spain in Group B wit Portugal, Morocco, and Iran.
World Cup 2018 Draw
Group A Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay
Group B Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran
Group C France, Australia, Peru, Denmark
Group D Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria
Group E Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia
Group F Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea
Group G England, Belgium, Panama, Tunisia
Group H Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan