Players of Liverpool applaud fans. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
The Champions League group stage came to an end on Wednesday evening, with all four involved English clubs booking their place in the round of 16.
Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Chelsea will all compete in the knockout stages of this year’s competition, with the former three winning their respective groups and Thomas Tuchel’s defending champions advancing a runners-up.
Elsewhere, there were a number of high-profile exits from the competition, with the likes of Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund being forced to bow out into the Europa League when continental action resumes in the new year.
Who has qualified for the round of 16?
In Group A, Manchester City and PSG have made it into the knockout stages.
City suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of RB Leipzig on Tuesday evening, but still did enough to finish top of the group table, with the French champions comfortably beating Club Brugge in their final outing.
In Group B, Liverpool stole the show, rounding off a 100% record by squeezing past AC Milan at the San Siro on matchday six.
They’ll be joined in the knockout stages by Atletico Madrid, who saw off FC Porto in a dramatic 3-1 win on Tuesday.
Group C was also a story of one side dominating proceedings, with Ajax taking 18 points from 18. They beat runners-up Sporting Lisbon 4-2 to secure that unblemished record.
Borussia Dortmund beat Besiktas 5-0 on Tuesday, but still crashed out on goal difference.
In Group D, Real Madrid bounced back from their matchday two defeat to Moldovan outfit Sheriff to storm the rest of the group, finishing top thanks to a 2-0 win over second-placed Inter on Tuesday.
Sheriff and Shakhtar Donetsk played out a 1-1 draw in their final fixture.
On Wednesday, Bayern Munich became the third side to register a 100% group stage record by dumping Barcelona out of the competition in a 3-0 win.
Benfica advanced at the Catalan giants’ expense, with a 2-0 win over Dynamo Kyiv booking their passage from Group E.
In Group F, a much-changed Manchester United side drew 1-1 with Young Boys at Old Trafford to wrap up top spot, while Villarreal and Atalanta face a winner-takes-it-all clash on Thursday after their game was postponed due to heavy snowfall in Italy. A draw would be enough to take Villarreal through.
Group G ultimately belonged to Lille, whose 3-1 win over Wolfsburg on Wednesday rubber-stamped their place at the top.
RB Salzburg are the other side to make it through from that group - they beat Sevilla 1-0 in a vital deciding clash.
Finally, in Group H, Chelsea faltered at the last hurdle to miss out on top spot. Their 3-3 draw with Zenit St. Petersburg - complete with stoppage time sucker-punch from the Russians - allowed Juventus to steal ahead on goal difference by beating Malmo.
Who will play in the Europa League?
The rules of the Champions League dictate that any team who finish third in their group are eligible to compete in the knockout stages of the Europa League.
For that reason, RB Leipzig, FC Porto, Borussia Dortmund, Sheriff, Barcelona, Sevilla, Zenit, and either Atalanta or Villarreal will be added to the mix in Europe’s second competition.
Who could play who in the Champions League round of 16?
The draw for the next round of the Champions League will take place on Monday, December 13th.
Those clubs who finished top of their group will avoid each, and will instead be paired with one of the sides who finished as runners-up.
There are some added caveats, however. Teams cannot be drawn against sides from their own country at this early stage, or from the group in which they just competed.
That means Liverpool could face PSG, Sporting Lisbon, Inter, Benfica, RB Salzburg, or Villarreal or Atalanta.
Man City could be drawn against Atletico Madrid, Sporting Lisbon, Inter, Benfica, RB Salzburg, or Villarreal or Atalanta.
Man United could be drawn against PSG, Atletico Madrid, Sporting Lisbon, Inter, Benfica, or RB Salzburg.
And Chelsea, who finished second in their group, will face either Ajax, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, or Lille.
A message from the editor:
Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going. You can also sign up to our newsletters and get a curated selection of our best reads to your inbox every day.