Champions League revamp: How it works and what it could mean for Liverpool

PAUL CONNOR discusses the proposed changes to the current Champions League format, and the implications it could have for the Reds.

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Before much longer, UEFA are expected to approve a drastic restructuring of the Champions League starting from 2024, proposed and fronted by the likes of the current Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli.

This change would see many adjustments of the current format. Some of these include a ‘Swiss model’ league, four new places, play-offs, and more.


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But today we focus on a particular question – how would these changes affect Liverpool if they were to partake in the Champions League from 2024 onwards?

What’s changing?

The current Champions League format consists of eight groups of four teams. The top two of these groups advance into a 16-team knockout stage, with third place joining the Europa League round of 32 and fourth team winning the first flight home.  

These rules will be removed.

Instead, the all-new Champions League will consist of a 36-team ‘super’ league – I might mention another certain super league later on.

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The first eight of this new extended league would be promoted to the knockout stages, with the next 16 teams entering a redesigned play-off stage. Clubs will be required to fit four more matches into their already bulging calendars, bringing the total ‘group’ games to 10. 

More big teams playing each other in big matches, meaning more broadcast revenue.

Oh, and these games will continue to January – notorious for fixture congestion.

Who will the four new places go to? 

One of these places will be gifted to the fourth-placed team in the fifth-ranked league within the UEFA coefficient rankings. This is currently France’s Ligue 1, though Portugal’s Primeira Liga is closing in on that place.

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Talking of coefficient rankings, there is talk of three places going to teams based on ‘European Pedigree’.

This could provide Liverpool along with the likes of AC Milan, Manchester United, Juventus, AS Roma and others classed to be among the ‘elite’ a way out of second or third-tier competitions after a bad season, because of successes in the past.

Focus on that last word.

The owners of these clubs, including our very own John W. Henry, will be delighted. This can be beneficial for when we have an under-par season such as the current one, but it is robbing the chance for the actual champions of Scotland, Holland, Denmark and Greece to go straight through to the ‘Champions’ League proper, ending an inconvenient process of play-offs.

“I have great respect for everything that Atalanta are doing, but, without international history and thanks to just one great season, they had direct access into the primary European club competition, Is that right or not?”

That was the question posed by Juventus chief Agnelli, having his say on the current European qualification process.

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It seems quite right to me – so clearly he and I have different opinions on this one.

Overall, these new changes would help Liverpool along their European travels, though this could be classed as talking from a very individual point of view.

With the seemingly routine ‘Super League’ talk appearing from bushes, you have to beg the question whether this revamp is really in the interests of the future of European football or, rather, in the interests of the continental big boys.

Liverpool being one them.


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