Football

Nice among Pool's possible Champs League play-off rivals

Liverpool will know who they are playing against in the Champions League play-offs tonight, when the draw is made at Uefa's headquarters in Nyon.

The Reds, who are one of five seeded teams in the league route, will face one of the following unseeded sides - Germany's Hoffenheim, France's Nice, Romania's Steaua Bucharest, Turkey's Istanbul BB or Switzerland's Young Boys.

A clash with Nice would mean a possible reunion with former Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli.

The Italian, however, missed his side's 2-2 draw with Ajax Amsterdam in the second leg of the Champions League qualifiers yesterday morning (Singapore time) due to a knee injury.

The other seeded sides in the league route are Sevilla, Napoli, CSKA Moscow and Sporting Lisbon.

The first legs will be played on Aug 15 or 16, with the return legs on Aug 22 or 23.

PENALTY LOSS

Meanwhile, Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp was not perturbed by their 5-4 loss on penalties to Atletico Madrid in the Audi Cup final yesterday morning (Singapore time), with Jordan Henderson missing his spot-kick.

The game had finished 1-1. Only four players, including Philippe Coutinho and Mohamed Salah, were rested after the 3-0 win over Bayern Munich a day earlier.

Said Klopp: "We're very tired today and we want to make life as difficult as possible for our opponents.

"The only (bad) thing that happened here today was the goal we conceded."

He was referring to Keidi Bare's 33rd-minute opener for Atletico.

Roberto Firmino equalised from the penalty spot in the 83rd minute.

The other route for the Champions League play-offs features Celtic - who are managed by former Reds boss Brendan Rodgers - Olympiakos, Copenhagen, APOEL Nicosia, Maribor, Qarabag, Astana, Rijeka, Hapoel Beer-Sheva and Slavia Prague. - WIRE SERVICES

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