Liverpool finally get Champions League clarity as UEFA 'confirms' format changes

A detailed view of the UEFA Champions League trophy is seen on a plinth prior to the UEFA Champions League 2023/24 final match between Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid CF at Wembley Stadium on May 31, 2024 in London, England.
-Credit: (Image: (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images))

Liverpool have been offered some clarity on next season's UEFA Champions League with many new changes coming into play. Following a one-season break, where the Reds took part in the Europa League, they will be back in Europe's top competition for Arne Slot's first campaign in charge.

Over the course of the last few months, talk of some major changes to the Champions League were in the works with UEFA now releasing an in depth slideshow explaining the new format. As opposed to the usual eight groups consisting of four participants to make 32 teams, another four clubs have been given passage into the competition with a league format in place.

Every team to qualify will play eight games, four home and four away, with the opponents determined in a draw that places teams of a similar strength into four pots of nine courtesy of their five-year UEFA coefficient. Liverpool will then be drawn against two teams from every pot.

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If Slot's men finish in the top eight, they will head straight into the last-16 stage with the teams between 9th and 24th forced to play a two-legged clash in order to earn their knockouts spot. This is where things become slightly complicated though the system implemented does make sense as it rewards sporting achievement.

To determine the pathway of each team from the first knockout round to the final, those to have qualified will be paired as '1 and 2' and '3 and 4' , depending on their table finish, and split into opposite sides of the draw. For example if the team that tops the league is placed into the left side of the draw, second place will automatically go onto the right side.

For the play-off stage, teams that finish 9th to 16th will be seeded and thus face the teams between 17th and 24th with the seeded clubs at home in the second leg. The eight winners of the play-off round will take on the teams finishing in the top eight, who are then seeded for the last-16 stage, with the latter playing away for the first leg.

For the quarter-final, semi-final and eventual final, the format remains the same with the latter held at a neutral venue. With all of those things in mind, Liverpool will be aiming to finish in the top eight as that guarantees a safe passage to the last-16 with a favourable knockout fixture also on the cards.

With every team qualified having more games to play, the league stage will finish in January with the round of 16 in March. The quarter-final then arrives the following month with both semi-finals and the final scheduled to take place in May.