Liverpool handed Champions League boost as Manchester City d

อัพเดทเวลา:2022-11-24  เรียกดู:

The Reds faced up to the daunting prospect of playing Europes top sides come February but Wednesdays drama has taken one side out of the immediate equation

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Liverpool will not be faced with playing Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League round-of-16 after the French giants failed to top their group in dramatic circumstances.

Christophe Galtiers side went into the final gameweek top and beat Juventus 2-1 on Wednesday, but a thumping 6-1 win for Benfica at Maccabi Haifa - sealed by Joao Marios 92nd-minute goal - put the Portuguese outfit top by the finest of margins. Both had 14 points, and their respective meetings ended 1-1 at the Estadio da Luz and Parc des Princes. Goal difference and goals scored were both dead equal, with Benfica securing top spot in Group H thanks to a better away goals tally.

Liverpoolalso only managed second-place in their group despite picking up the most points of any English side -Manchester CityChelseaandTottenhamall topped their respective tables. The Reds finished level on 15 points with Napoli, butTuesdays 2-0 win against the Italian outfitwas not enough to overturn the three-goal deficit from the opening gameweek.

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Second-place usually sets up a daunting knockout stage draw, withJurgen Kloppsside facing any of the four group winners that arent either Napoli or theirPremier Leaguerivals - UEFA rules state teams from the same country cannot be drawn together in the first-round of the knockouts. PSG were expected to enter the draw as winners alongside Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Porto but have instead been replaced by Benfica.

That development hands the Reds a 50/50 chance of facing a European giant in Bayern or Madrid, with one of Porto or Benfica the likely preferred option - as it is forJamie Carragher, who admits he fancies Porto. With Liverpool and Bayern only allowed to face four potential teams, a meeting of the two and a return ofSadio Maneto Anfield is statistically the most likely outcome.

But the avoidance of PSG - armed with Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar - will no doubt bring relief to a Liverpool side who have been notoriously porous against pace this season. Benfica are no pushovers, however, with Roger Schmidts side top of the Portuguese Primeira Liga and unbeaten in all competitions since May.

Liverpool can garner hope from a set ofgood omens after finishing second, with both Champions League victories in 2004/2005 and 2018/2019 coming after failing to top the group. All 16 of the qualified teams will learn of their February opponents on Monday, November 7.

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