5 teams Liverpool will hope to avoid in Europa League draw

Liverpool will appear in the UEFA Europa League Last 16 draw later this month. Here are five teams they'll hope to avoid.

Liverpool aren't playing in the UEFA Europa League play-off round right now — they get to skip this stage after finishing first in their group.

The Reds will take one of the winners from the preliminary knockout round, however, when the last 16 starts next month.

Before that, the group stage runners-up take on the Champions League drop-outs to make up the rest of the last 16.

Liverpool remain the favourites to win the trophy, alongside Xabi Alonso's Bayer Leverkusen (who also topped their Europa League group).

Jurgen Klopp's side should be confident no matter the draw, then, but there are still some tricky ties they'd probably hope to avoid.

Here are five teams Liverpool won't want to face in the last 16 draw on 23 February, if they can get through their play-off fixtures.

AS Roma

We'll start with a debatable one. Roma are playing Feyenoord in their play-off and drew the first leg 1-1 away from home. They're the favourites to go through, but they're also not a brilliant side.

Romelu Lukaku, AS Roma

Romelu Lukaku of AS Roma in action during the Serie A match between AS Roma and FC Internazionale at Stadio Olimpico Rome Italy on 10 February 2024. Rome Stadio Olimpico Rome Italy Copyright: xNicolaxIanualex SP24-841-050

In fact, Roma have been so inconsistent this season that Jose Mourinho lost his job. Some will say he was unfortunate given the injuries they've had, but the truth is that they just haven't found any rhythm.

Still, Liverpool won't want to face Roma simply because they've got some very good players. Any attack with Paulo Dybala and Romelu Lukaku can cause problems and there are some much easier possible fixtures.


Liverpool have a good record against Portuguese sides and there certainly aren't any they'd fear as such. But Benfica are having a good season, with only one defeat in Liga Portugal this season.


Vizela, 02/08/2024 - Futebol Clube Vizela hosted Lisboa e Benfica this evening, at Estadio Futebol Clube Vizela, in a game of the 6th round of the Portuguese Cup 2023/24. Party of Arthur Cabral Di Maria, Rafa Ivan Del Val/Global Imagens CI_SPORT_20240208_48385372 Vizela Portugal Copyright: xIvanxDelxVal/GlobalxImagens/AtlÃnticoxPressx

Their Champions League campaign was a struggle, seeing them drop down, but domestically they've been strong. Only 14 goals conceded stand out.

Rafa Silva and Angel Di Maria are always a handful, while Joao Neves and Antonio Silva are two of the best young players in Europe. A good team that could trouble Liverpool.


Galatasaray are chaotic. You only needed to tune in on Thursday to see that as they took on Sparta Praha in their Play-Off. The Turks took the lead, gave it up, got it back, gave it up again, and then scored a stoppage-time winner through Mauro Icardi.

Oh, and both teams went down to 10 men.


Dries Mertens 10 of Galatasaray celebrates after scoring the second goal of his team with teammates during the Turkish Super League match between Galatasaray and Basaksehir FK at Rams Park on February 10, 2024 in Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul Turkey Copyright: xSeskimPhotox Gsaray-Basaksehir-10224 121

Their Champions League campaign was similar. They lost 1-0 to Copenhagen but also beat Manchester United 3-2 at Old Trafford, while they came from 2-0 down and 3-1 down to draw with United 3-3 at home.

Domestically they've been great, too. Top of the Super Lig, 14 conceded and one defeat after 25 games. Just not an easy team to deal with for anyone.

AC Milan

This one is pretty easy to explain - Milan are just a good side.

They're third in Serie A, 10 points ahead of fourth and one point off second. They've beaten Paris Saint-Germain this season, and beat Newcastle United 2-1 away.

AC Milan

Frosinone Calcio v AC Milan - Serie A Olivier Giroud of AC Milan celebrates with Rafael Leao of AC Milan after scoring first goal during the Serie A Tim match between Frosinone Calcio and AC Milan at Stadio Benito Stirpe on Febraury 3, 2024 in Frosinone, Italy. Frosinone Stadio Benito Stirpe Frosinone Italy Copyright: xGiuseppexMaffiax SERIEA_Frosinone-Milan_GM_030224_LIA8910

They're also just in good form. Milan haven't lost in Serie A since early December and boast some very good players. Rafa Leao is fantastic, while Olivier Giroud refuses to slow down.

Even Luka Jovic has remembered how to score goals.

Milan are the biggest side Liverpool can face in terms of stature. They'd still rather avoid them, though.

Sporting CP

This is certainly the most interesting possible draw. Sporting beat Young Boys 3-1 away from home in their Play-Off first leg to essentially guarantee they'll make it through.

Sporting CP

Lisbon, 01/29/2024 - Sporting Clube de Portugal hosted this evening at the Josà Alvalade XXI Stadium, in Lisbon, Casa Pia Atlà tico Clube in the match of the 19th round of the I Liga Portugal Betclic, season 2023/24. Goal by Francisco Trincao Ruben Amorim Gerardo Santos / Global Imagens CI_SPORT_20240129_48371327 Lisbon Portugal Copyright: xGerardoxSantosx/xGlobalxImagens/AtlÃnticoxPressx

They're currently second in Liga Portugal but with a game in hand over Benfica. Sporting have only failed to win in three league games, drawing once and losing twice. Quite ridiculously, they've scored 58 goals in 20 games, led by Viktor Gyokeres. The Swede has 25 goals and nine assists already this season.

But the real reason this would be interesting is that manager Ruben Amorim is reportedly a strong contender for the Liverpool job. This could well offer a preview into that - and a chance for him to impress.

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