UEFA has snubbed Liverpool in the seeding process for the Europa League round of 32 due to their vapid performance in the Champions League this season.
The 2005 Champions League winners are ranked as one of the four worst performing third-placed teams ahead of the knockout stage draw scheduled for Monday in Nyon, Switzerland.
The consequence of Liverpool being unseeded is that a number of potential tough draws await them on Monday including a reunion with former manager Rafael Benitez at Napoli.
Liverpool derby in the last-32 as teams from the same country cannot play each other at this stage.
It could, however, happen if both teams progress to the last 16, at which stage country protection is removed and the draw is free, with their Merseyside rivals Everton as well as Tottenham and Celtic still in the running.
La Liga clubs Sevilla and Villarreal are potential opponents for Liverpool if they can go top of their respective groups on Thursday.
A match against Henning Berg’s Legia Warsaw is also a possibility if the Polish club seal first place in Group L with a draw at home against Trabzonspor.
If Liverpool go all the way and win the trophy in Warsaw on May 27, they would enter next season’s Champions League at the earliest in the play-offs. Or they better get off their current ninth position in the Barclays Premier League table and finish in the top four to ensure automatic qualification to Europe, just in case they didn’t win the second-tier of Europe’s continental competition.
Here are the confirmed seedings so far for the Europa League last 32 draw:
Seeded teams: Olympiacos, Zenit St Petersburg, Sporting Lisbon, Athletic Bilbao, Red Bull Salzburg, Dinamo Moscow, Everton, Inter Milan, Fiorentina
Unseeded teams: Anderlecht, Ajax, Liverpool, Roma, Celtic, PSV
The full seedings will be confirmed after the completion of Thursday’s Europa League group stage matches