Liverpool supporters in the Transfer Tavern are gearing up for this evening’s Champions League draw, what with their side seeking to go one better this time round following their final heartbreak back in May.
Jurgen Klopp’s men produced a sensational run to top their group and then knock out the likes of Manchester City and Roma en route to the Kiev showpiece last season, where they came up against two-times defending champions Real Madrid. And while the Reds gave a great account of themselves in the Ukrainian capital, they were unable to record a sixth European crown as a brace from Gareth Bale alongside a Karim Benzema goal sealed a 3-1 win for Zinedine Zidane’s side.
Yet attentions are already turning to this season’s competition, and results in the play-off round on Wednesday night means that Klopp’s side will be in Pot 3 for today’s draw, what with Benfica winning through to take their place in Pot 2.
And The Daily Mirror’s Chief Football Writer John Cross tweeted saying that it was a ‘nightmare scenario’ for the Merseyside giants, before going on to say that it ‘seems very harsh’.
Nightmare scenario for last season’s runners-up… seems very harsh https://t.co/Czlwe7wLDj
— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) August 29, 2018
And while some may agree with Cross given the Reds produced a wonderful run to the final last year, he’s got it wrong to suggest that it is ‘harsh’.
Ultimately, while no-one can argue that Liverpool were excellent in the Champions League last season and deservedly reached the final, the Reds finished fourth in the Premier League behind Manchester City, Manchester United, and Tottenham.
In fact, one could actually argue that Klopp’s men have been slightly fortunate as, until this season, the fourth place side in the Premier League was forced to go through a play-off round to earn their spot in the group stages, with Liverpool knowing that all too well after coming through against Hoffenheim at that stage of the competition 12 months ago.
Add in the fact that their UEFA coefficient took a huge hit given they were not in European competition in the 2016/17 campaign, and it’s the Reds that only have themselves to blame for failing to have a high number coefficient to be in amongst the those sides in pot 2.
Thus, it’s not the fact that they reached the final that has cost the Reds a spot in one of the top two pots, it’s the fact that they haven’t been consistent enough in European competition in recent years that is the reason they are in pot 3 – one run to the final is great for the coefficient, but more is needed on top of that for the Merseysiders to be among Europe’s elite in draws like today’s.
Yet many supporters will point to the fact that Pochettino’s Spurs were in pot 3 last season and ended up winning a group consisting of Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund – and given Liverpool’s exploits last term, they shouldn’t fear anyone in the competition.
Thus, it may seem strange that the Reds will not be in the top two pots given they reached the final last term, but to suggest it’s harsh, given they finished fourth and this time round didn’t need to go through a play-off, is not right at all.
Liverpool fans… what do you think? Let us know!