Italian striker could return to Anfield as SunSport looks at Liverpool’s potential Champions League opponents
MARIO BALOTELLI could come back to haunt Liverpool by knocking them out of the Champions League.
The former Reds striker – regarded as one of the club’s worst-ever signings – now play for French side Nice, who could face Jurgen Klopp’s men in the two-legged August qualifier.
Ex-Arsenal and Manchester City ace Emmanuel Adebayor is also lurking in the way of Liverpool’s chances if they draw Turkish side Istanbul BB.
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Portuguese big-hitters Sporting Lisbon, French club Nice and German surprise package Hoffenheim are also notable dangerous floaters that could be on collision course with Liverpool.
The Reds will enter the competition in the play-off round and the draw will take place on August 4 – with first leg ties taking place on August 15 and 16 with the second legs a week later (August 22, 23).
Here SunSport’s JUSTIN ALLEN takes a look at some of the teams that Klopp’s men could face.
BELGIAN runners-up – pipped to the title by just two points by Anderlecht.
Have former Middlesbrough and Burnley striker Jelle Vossen among their ranks, who scored 17 goals this season.
EUROPEAN champions back in 1986 and were beaten by Manchester City 6-0 on aggregate in their qualifying game for this season’s Champions League campaign. Brazilian midfielder and free-kick ace Fernando Boldrin is one to watch out for.
NO-ONE will be wanting to draw the French club, who took their league by storm until a last-month wobble ended their challenge to Monaco and PSG for the title. Madcap Italian – and former Liverpool striker – Mario Balotelli scored 15 goals this season and is a firm fans’ favourite in the south of France.
SWISS side would be a banana skin with their plastic pitch at the hilariously-named Stade de Suisse Wankdorf.
Serbian winger Miralem Sulejmani – who used to play for Ajax and Benfica – is the danger man.
RUNNERS-UP in Turkey are sure to be inspired by Emmanuel Adebayor. He joined halfway through the season and scored six goals in 10 games. Nothing would give the Togo striker more delight than knocking out Liverpool.
WOULD be a daunting away trip for Liverpool as the Greek club have some of the most passionate fans. Reds would have to watch out for full-back Jose Crespo, who was at Aston Villa last season.
PORTUGUESE giants and incredible that they are even entering the competition in the third-qualifying round ahead of the play-off round. Finished bottom of their Champions League group behind Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid and Legia Warsaw. Portugal’s Euro 2016-winning midfielder Adrien Silva will pose Liverpool a big threat.
JURGEN KLOPP would have reason for concern if Liverpool draw the German surprise package. Managed by 29-year-old Julian Nagelsmann, they only lost four league games. Kerem Demirbay is a top playmaking central midfielder.