Champions League group stage permutations: How Liverpool and Manchester United can make history for Premier League by reaching last 16

Joe Hall
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Manchester City v SSC Napoli - UEFA Champions League
City have already qualified for the last 16 as group winners (Source: Getty)

English clubs are on the cusp of creating Champions League history by becoming the largest collection of teams from a single nation to reach the knock-out stages of the competition.

No country has ever before had five teams present in the last 16 of Europe's elite competition, but England will become the first to do so if Manchester United and Liverpool avoid defeat this week and book their place in the next round alongside Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham who have already qualified.

Five Premier League clubs qualified for this season's Champions League for the first time as Manchester United, despite finishing fifth last season, secured their spot in the group stage by winning the Europa League.

Should Liverpool and United both get out of their group, it will mark the first time in four seasons that the entire English contingent in the competition has done so.

Read more: Why Liverpool's Champions League qualification cost Chelsea and Manchester United over €10m in revenue

In 2013-14 Arsenal, United, City and Chelsea all made the last 16, but only the Blues managed to go further.

In the 2015-16 season, Spain had five teams in the Champions League group stages after Sevilla won the Europa League but only three progressed into the knock-out rounds.


Sevilla FC v Liverpool FC - UEFA Champions League
Liverpool are still not certain of the Champions League destiny (Source: Getty)

As it stands:

Pos. Team Played GD Points
1. Liverpool 5 +10 9
2. Sevilla 5 0 8
3. Spartak Moscow 5 +3 6
4. Maribor 5 -13 2
  • Liverpool can clinch top spot by beating Spartak Moscow at Anfield on Wednesday night.
  • The Reds could still miss out altogether if they lose and Sevilla get a draw or win against Maribor.
  • If Liverpool draw and Sevilla win, Jurgen Klopp's side will slip into second.

Manchester United

United qualified thanks to their Europa League triumph (Source: Getty)

As it stands:

Pos. Team Played GD Points
1. Man United 5 +8 12
2. FC Basel 5 +4 9
3. CSKA Moscow 5 -1 9
4. Benfica 5 -11 0
  • Despite currently being top of their group, United could still miss out on the last 16 should they suffer a heavy home loss to CSKA Moscow on Tuesday night and Basel beat Benfica.
  • A draw will secure top spot for Jose Mourinho's men while they could still lose and go through as group winners if Basel fail to beat Benfica.


Heading for top spot? Chelsea are already through (Source: Getty)

As it stands:

Pos. Team Played GD Points
1. Chelsea 5 +8 10
2. Roma 5 +2 8
3. Atletico Madrid 5 +1 6
4. FK Qarabag 5 -11 2
  • Chelsea are guaranteed of qualification into the last 16 but could still finish behind Roma.
  • With Roma odds-on to beat Qarabag, Chelsea must beat Atletico Madrid at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night to hold onto top spot.

Manchester City

SSC Napoli v Manchester City - UEFA Champions League
City celebration: Guardiola's team may be Europe's form side (Source: Getty)

As it stands:

Pos. Team Played GD Points
1. Man City 5 +10 15
2. Shakhtar Donetsk 5 -1 9
3. Napoli 5 +1 6
4. Feyenoord 5 -10 0
  • City have secured top spot after winning five out of five games.
  • Only Paris Saint-Germain have a comparable record so far in this year's Champions League.
  • City face a long trip to Ukraine for their final group game against Shakhtar ahead of this weekend's derby against Manchester United.

Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs have sailed through what appeared to be a group of death (Source: Getty)

As it stands:

Pos. Team Played GD Points
1. Tottenham 5 +8 13
2. Real Madrid 5 +9 10
3. Dortmund 5 -5 2
4. Apoel Nicosia 5 -12 2
  • Spurs have already qualified for the last 16 and will be a top seeding in the draw having secured top spot.
  • Real Madrid could match them on points but 3-1 win over the European Champions at Wembley means Spurs stay above them on their head-to-head record.
  • Spurs also enjoyed home and away wins over 2013 finalists Borussia Dortmund.
  • Spurs play Apoel Nicosia in their final group game at Wembley on Wednesday night.

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