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13th Dec 2021

Why Liverpool weren’t in the pot to draw Villarreal

Simon Lloyd

Calm down, Michael

As much as it would have been absolutely hilarious, no, there will not be a *third* draw to decide who plays who in the Champions League last 16 – no matter what Michael Owen might have thought.

UEFA somehow managed to botch the first attempt at the draw on Monday morning. Manchester United were initially drawn to face Villarreal, a team they had already played in the groups and could not face again in the first knockout round.

While Manchester City were then pulled out to face the Europa League winners, United’s ball did not appear to be put back in the right pot and they ended up getting the worst imaginable draw in Paris Saint-Germain.

After plenty of calls for a redraw, UEFA eventually confirmed the first effort was null and void and a second draw would be held at 2pm.

United got Atletico Madrid second time around, whereas Liverpool, who had initially drawn RB Salzburg, ended up with Inter Milan.

There was, however, slight panic amongst some that *another* draw would be required when it emerged Liverpool were not in the pot to face Villarreal – a team not from their group nor from the same country.

Though Owen was amongst those to notice this, the explanation soon became clear.

Villarreal were drawn in the third-to-last tie, with Juventus, Liverpool and Real Madrid the remaining group winners.

Had Liverpool drawn Villarreal, however, Inter Milan would have been left with Juventus – another Italian team – or Real Madrid – who were in the same group as them. This meant Jurgen Klopp’s side had to be removed as a possible option for Villarreal, who had to play Juventus.

Make sense? Too much to think about this early in the week, isn’t it?

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