With all the noise about Deadline Day, it’s easy to forget there’s another appointment on the calendar this Friday: the Europa League group stage draw.
Liverpool return to Europe’s second-tier club competition for the first time since 2015/16, and while — let’s face it – nobody really wants to be here, it is a great chance for silverware this season.
The Reds have an opportunity to lift the Europa League (or UEFA Cup in its previous incarnation) for a fourth time, with the 2023/24 final taking place just over the Irish Sea in Dublin.
Jurgen Klopp’s side will find out their group stage opponents this Friday, as they begin their European campaign, and go into the draw as one of the teams to avoid for all other competitors.
Here’s what you need to know about the draw.
When is the Europa League draw?
The draw is scheduled to take place on Friday, 1 September at 12:00 BST / 13:00 CET in Monaco.
The event will be broadcast live on UEFA.com while TNT Sports will have coverage in the UK.
READ MORE: Europa League 2023/24 explained – format, draw, pots and schedule
What pot are Liverpool in?
© Proshots – Europa League
Perhaps unsurprisingly given their Champions League pedigree, Liverpool go into the Europa League this season with the highest UEFA coefficient (the metric that ranks teams based on recent performances) of any competing side.
As a result, the Reds are secured in the knowledge that they will go into Friday’s draw in Pot 1.
Though Liverpool are definitely in the top bracket, the final pots for all 32 teams will only be confirmed after the final qualifying rounds are completed on 31 August.
Who else has qualified?
So far, the following teams are confirmed for the Europa League 2023/24 group stages:
England: Liverpool, Brighton, West Ham
Spain: Villarreal, Real Betis
Italy: Atalanta, Roma
Germany: Freiburg, Bayer Leverkusen
France: Toulouse, Rennes, Marseille
Portugal: Sporting CP
Austria: Sturm Graz
Serbia: TSC Backa Topola
Greece: Panathinaikos, AEK Athens
Israel: Maccabi Haifa
The remaining ten teams will be decided by playoff fixtures, the second legs of which are scheduled for 31 August.
It appears likely that Ajax, Union SG and Qarabag should be among the teams to make the group stages, having won their first leg ties convincingly last week.
Best case draw for Liverpool
As a Pot 1 team, Liverpool will avoid a number of the trickiest possible matchups.
Roma, Villarreal, Leverkusen and Atalanta are all also set for Pot 1 and can’t be drawn against Klopp’s side, while West Ham (also Pot 1 as Conference League winners) and Brighton can’t face another English team in the group stage.
Perhaps a best case scenario would see the Reds drawn with Molde (potentially Pot 2), Toulouse (potentially Pot 3) and Servette (Pot 4), in what would be a group with a relatively low UEFA coefficient coupled with short and sweet away day travel.
Should Aberdeen get through, they might also be seen as a favourable short-distance tie.
Toughest draw for Liverpool
Depending on how the rest of the pots are determined based on the remaining qualifiers, the Reds could get Sporting CP, Marseille and Freiburg – which is the toughest draw based purely on UEFA coefficient.
Klopp and the Reds will also surely prefer to avoid long-distance midweek travel, meaning the likes of Maccabi Haifa and Qarabag (if they qualify) are best swerved.
Real Betis could also be a tricky tie – though Seville is a lovely away day for fans wanting some winter sun – while the cauldrons of Rangers, Panathinaikos and Olympiacos (should they win their playoff) might be the kind of excitement best avoided until the knockouts.
At the other end of the spectrum, there is also a chance Liverpool could be drawn with KI Klaksvik from the Faroe Islands, who are still in contention to qualify. The Faroese club play in front of a 2,600 capacity crowd (1,300 seated).