Who could Liverpool face in the Europa League knockout rounds?

Liverpool secured qualification for the knockout rounds of the Europa League with a match to spare, after beating LASK 4-0 at home.

The Reds have been flawless (points-wise) in Group E, but for their away day in France when those fell to a controversial 3-2 loss at Toulouse.

Now confirmed as group winners with qualification to the last 16 secured, fans can continue to plot their route to Dublin next May.

So with eyes already on the next phase of the tournament, what comes next for Liverpool and who could they face?


How do the Europa League knockouts work?

Obviously the top two in each of the Europa League's eight groups qualifies for the knockout stages. Standard.

However, unlike in the Champions League, there is an extra stage for the group runners-up to face.

After the Europa League group phase is completed, the eight second-placed teams play a preliminary knockout round in which they are paired against one of the third-placed dropouts from the Champions League. The winners then take a spot in the last 16.

Group winners, of course, are exempt from this round and are secure in their passage to the last 16.

Other than that, the competition follows the traditional format, with all ties taking place over two legs (home and away) until the single event final.

EUROPA LEAGUE KNOCKOUT ROUND SCHEDULE

© Proshots - Europa League

With Liverpool confirmed as Group E winners, they won't have to play another Thursday night fixture until March when the round of 16 starts. Woohoo!

However, group runners-up face their playoff in February.

  • Preliminary knockout round – 15-22 February 2024
  • Last 16 – 7-14 March 2024
  • Quarter-finals – 11-18 April 2024
  • Semi-finals – 2-9 May 2024
  • Final – 22 May 2024

The draw dates for he preliminary round will take place on 18 December, while the last 16 draw is scheduled for 23 February.

The remaining rounds will be drawn together on 15 March.

Who could Liverpool face in the knockout rounds?

Jurgen Klopp, ProShots

Unsurprisingly, it's hard to say who Liverpool are likely to come up against in the next phase of the competition as so much is still up in the air.

Prior to the sixth round of group stage fixtures, several teams have qualified for the next round but few are certain in their final group position.

So far the following teams have qualified for the Europa League knockout phase:

  • West Ham
  • Freiburg
  • Marseille
  • Brighton
  • Atalanta
  • Sporting CP
  • Liverpool
  • Rennes
  • Villarreal
  • Slavia Prague
  • Roma
  • Bayer Leverkusen
  • Qarabag

The following teams are also confirmed in their transfer from the Champions League to Europa League:

  • Young Boys
  • Feyenoord

Having now confirmed that they will bypass the preliminary knockout round, the best case Liverpool can hope for in the last 16 is a favourable tie with relatively little travel time.

From the teams currently placed second in their Europa League groups, German side Freiburg jumps out as one such possibility – though, of course, they would still need to finish second and then win their preliminary round before entering the draw to face the Reds next February.

Young Boys and Feyenoord, who will both transfer from the Champions League, could also be match-ups that wouldn't worry Jurgen Klopp overly.

In terms of teams to maybe hope to avoid, Lens (who beat Arsenal already this season) are currently third in their Champions League group, as are Galatasaray and AC Milan.

Teams from the same countries are not prohibited from playing in the knockout stages, meaning Liverpool could also find themselves drawn against Brighton, West Ham, Manchester United or Newcastle depending on final group standings and playoff results.

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