Results tonight in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers edged Liverpool closer to being amongst the second seeds in the upcoming group stage.
FC Basel were hoping to overcome a 1st leg 2-1 defeat by Greek side PAOK but were comprehensively dismantled 3-0 at their own stadium and knocked out of the tournament.
Why does this matter?
FC Basel, the dominant force in Switzerland, had a marginally better 5 year ranking in European competition than Liverpool. (they have been in the Champions League groups in 8 of the last 9 years - and in the other year they reached the Europa League semi final).
Their elimination means that AS Roma move from the 3rd group of seeds into the 2nd group of 8 teams.
Liverpool now sit top of the third group of seeds, and as it stands they could well face both AS Roma and Real Madrid, our last two opponents in the tournament, in next seasons group stage.
Whether the reds end up in pot 2 or pot 3 now depends on the fortunes of Portugese side Benfica. They join the competition next week facing Fenerbahce over two legs (second leg in Turkey).
After that they will face a play off round before joining the group stage.
Benfica are the only side involved in qualification with a higher points ranking than the reds. They have been involved in the competition for each of the last four years, reaching the quarter final and the last 16 in two of those seasons.
Champions League seedings - As it stands (August 2nd 2018)
Real Madrid (as European Champions)
Atletico Madrid (as Europa League winners)
Barcelona (as Spain Champions - Europe's #1 League)
Bayern Munich (as German Champions - Europe's #2 League)
Man City (as English Champions - Europe's #3 League)
Juventus (as Italian Champions - Europe's #4 League)
PSG (as French Champions - Europe's #5 League)
Lokomotiv Moscow (as Russian Champions - Europe's #6 League)
Pot 2 (from here on in position depends on a club's 5 year ranking in European competition)
Benfica (** still to play two qualifying rounds)
Dinamo Kiev (** Qualification rounds)
FC Salzburg (** Qualification rounds)
PSV Eindhoven (** Qualification rounds)
Celtic (** Qualification rounds)
FK Astana (** Qualification rounds)
The draw for the fourth playoff round takes place on the 6th August, a day before the 3rd qualifying round gets underway.
Liverpool's name goes into pot (2 or 3) on the 30th August when the group stage draw is made. The first games are played the midweek of September 18th and the 7:45pm kick off is no more. Games will kick off at 5:55 pm or 8pm.
The 2018/19 final will be held in Madrid, at Atletico's new stadium the Wanda Metropolitano.