When is the Champions League draw and who could Liverpool face in play-offs?

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Just two months after Real Madrid beat Juventus in the final in Cardiff, the biggest tournament in club football is already back in full swing

Not one of Europe's 'Big Five' leagues has yet kicked off but the Champions League has already been up and running since the end of June.

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Indeed, we're just about to reach the play-off round, when things start to get really interesting for some of Europe's top clubs.

Five-time winners Liverpool and Europa League legends Sevilla are just two of the sides who are about to find out which team stands in their way for a place in the group stage of the 2017-18 Champions League...


Champions League draw

The draw for the Champions League play-off round will take place in Nyon, Switzerland on Friday, August 4.

The proceedings are scheduled to get under way at noon Central European Standard Time (CEST), which means 11:00 in the United Kingdom and Ireland.


Ian Rush Champions League draw

The draw will be streamed live on UEFA's official website from 12:00 CET.

It will also be broadcast in the UK and Ireland on BT Sport, its website and its app, with the coverage scheduled to begin at 11:00 BST.

In the United States, the draw can be watched with the Fox Soccer Match Pass from 06:00 Eastern Time (ET).


HD Sadio Mane Liverpool celebrate v Bayern

The play-off draw will consist of 20 teams, who will be evenly divided into two sections: the Champions Route (for league winners) and the League Route (non-champions).

Looking at the two pots, the big news is that 2005 winners Liverpool are back at Europe's top table for the first time since suffering a miserable Champions League group-stage exit three years ago.

Having finished fourth in the Premier League last season, the Reds will be taking the League Route, alongside Maurizio Sarri's wonderful Napoli side, who gave Real Madrid a couple of scares before bowing out in the round of 16 last term.

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Sevilla are also seeded in the League Route thanks to the fact that they won three successive Europa Leagues between 2014 and 2016.

Sporting CP joined them due to the coefficients of the five teams that made it through Wednesday's third-round play-offs, with CSKA Moscow making up the fifth after overcoming AEK Athens.

Joining Hoffenheim in the unseeded after Wednesday's action are Steaua Bucuresti, Young Boys, Nice and Basaksehir.

League Route:

Seeded teams Unseeded teams
Sevilla Steaua Bucuresti
Napoli Young Boys
Liverpool Nice
CSKA Moscow Hoffenheim
Sporting CP Basaksehir

The Champions Route comprises of the 10 league winners that came through the third qualifying round second legs.

Here is how things look after full-time on Wednesday:

BATE Borisov 2-2 Slavia Prague (unseeded)
Legia Warsaw 2-3 Astana (unseeded)
FH 0-2 Maribor (seeded)
Copenhagen (seeded) 4-2 Vardar
Rosenborg 0-1 Celtic (seeded)
Ludogorets 3-3 Hapoel Be'er Sheva (unseeded)
APOEL (seeded) 4-1 Viitorul Constanta
Rijeka (unseeded) 1-1 Red Bull Salzburg
Sheriff Tiraspol 1-2 Qarabag (unseeded)
Olympiacos (seeded) 5-3 Partizan

The first legs of both the League and Champions play-off round ties will take place on August 15 and 16, with the return fixtures scheduled for August 22 and 23.


Lionel Messi Casemiro Real Madrid Barcelona ICC

We already know the identity of 22 of the teams that will participate in the 32-strong group stage for this season's Champions League.

Real Madrid are obviously the star attraction, having become the first side to successfully defend the title by defeating Juventus in last season's final in Cardiff in May. 

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As you can see in the table below, they will again face some stellar competition, not least from their eternal rivals Barcelona but also Paris Saint-Germain, who are just about to prise Neymar away from the Catalan club.

Group stage qualifiers:

Real Madrid (Pot 1) Borussia Dortmund (Pot 2)
Bayern Munich (Pot 1) Manchester City (Pot 2)
Chelsea (Pot 1) Porto (Pot 2)
Juventus (Pot 1) Manchester United (Pot 2)
Benfica (Pot 1) Tottenham (Pot 2 or 3)
Monaco (Pot 1) Basel (Pot 3)
Spartak Moscow (Pot 1) Anderlecht (Pot 3)
Shakhtar Donetsk (Pot 1) Roma (Pot 3 or 4)
Barcelona (Pot 2) Besiktas (Pot 3 or 4)
Atletico Madrid (Pot 2) Feyenoord (Pot 3 or 4)
Paris Saint-Germain (Pot 2) RB Leipzig (Pot 3 or 4)


Alexis Sanchez Arsenal

While the cast is arguably stronger than ever, some headline acts have missed out on qualification this season.

Inter, who conquered Europe only seven years ago, have no European football at all to look forward to this year, after a shocking seventh-placed finish in Serie A.

However, it is Arsenal who are most conspicuous by their absence. The Gunners had never failed to qualify for the Champions League during Arsene Wenger's two-decade long reign in north London but they missed out after being pipped to fourth place in the Premier League by Liverpool.