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Here’s who Liverpool can draw in the Champions League playoff round

Mario Balotelli

FILE- In this Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016 file photo, Nice’s forward Mario Balotelli, of Italy, reacts during the Europa League group I soccer match between OGC Nice and FC Salzburg, in Nice stadium, southeastern France. Nice striker Mario Balotelli’s teammate Alassane Pleas has confirmed he heard Bastia supporters racially abusing Balotelli with monkey chants during the league match on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Claude Paris, File)


The UEFA Champions League will draw its playoff round on Friday, and Liverpool now knows which teams it could face in order to join Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, and Chelsea in the group stage.

Liverpool qualified as a seeded team that qualified via the league route, which means it can only meet five unseeded league route teams in the next round.

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Hoffenheim, Steaua Bucharest, Young Boys or Istanbul Basaksehir could meet the Reds on August 15 or 16 and Aug. 22 or 23rd for the right to move onto the next stage.

The Reds could also face former ally Mario Balotelli and Nice, who drew Ajax 2-2 to advance on away goals.

Liverpool would be favored against all five sides, though certainly Hoffenheim and Nice represent trickier challenges for the Premier League side.

Follow @NicholasMendola