By Gary Fulcher.
Victory or even a point for Liverpool against FC Sion on Thursday evening – 6pm kick off UK time – would see the Reds top Group B and enter the knockout stages as one of 16 seeded teams in the last 32. The rewards for being seeded is the first leg being played away from home and, more importantly, you can only be drawn against un-seeded opposition and cannot be drawn against teams who were in the same group or from the same country.
There are three teams confirmed as being unseeded at this stage: Saint-Etienne (one for the European romantics), Galatasaray and Shakhtar Donetsk, with the latter two dropping down from the Champions League after finishing 3rd in their group. The six sides confirmed as being seeded are Napoli, Lazio, Basel, Athletic Bilbao, Manchester Utd and Sevilla, again with the latter two parachuting into the Europa League from the Champions League.
Sion are struggling in the Swiss Super League, currently occupying 6th place with 22 points from 18 matches. They are win-less in their last three matches in the league, drawing 1-1 at Young Boys before losing back-to-back games against Thun (1-2 at home) and FC Zurich (0-1 away). For a team who had picked up eight points from the first four games and looked nailed on to qualify, Sion could still miss out if they lose against us and Rubin Kazan defeat Bordeaux, as the Russian side would qualify based on a better head-to-head record in the group.
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