With the qualifying stages complete, the Champions League truly begins with Thursday’s group stage draw, which takes place at 5pm BST in Monaco. For the first time, five English sides have reached this stage, with Liverpool beating Hoffenheim in the play-offs to join Chelsea,Tottenham, Manchester City and last season’s Europa League winners Manchester United. Celtic have also qualified via the play-offs, with the Scottish champions completing a half-dozen of British teams in the hat. We take a look at who each British side could face:

Chelsea

As the defending English champions, Antonio Conte’s side enjoy the benefit of being seeded, but it may not be much of an advantage at all. Barcelona, Atlético Madrid and PSG would all pose a real threat, and the other European sides in pot two – Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla and Porto – are all formidable opponents. With games against Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool coming the weekend after Champions League matches, Conte will be desperate to avoid the stronger teams lower down – Roma and Napoli in pot three, or RB Leipzig in pot four – in order to rotate his squad.

Possible opponents:

Pot two: Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, PSG, Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla, Porto

Pot three: Napoli, Basel, Olympiakos, Anderlecht, Roma, Besiktas

Pot four: Celtic, CSKA Moscow, Sporting, APOEL, Feyenoord, Maribor, Qarabag, RB Leipzig

With concerns over squad depth and tough fixtures following his side’s European games, Antonio Conte will be desperate for a good draw. Photograph: Alastair Grant/AP

Manchester City

Pep Guardiola’s team are in pot two and could face any of seven possible seeded opponents, including reunions with Real Madrid or Bayern Munich. City face away matches in four of the six weekends after European action, so may want to avoid travelling to Spartak Moscow or Shakhtar Donetsk, who will play home games in Kharkiv. That also applies further down the draw, where Olympiakos, Besiktas, CSKA Moscow and Azeri qualifiers Qarabag lie in wait.

Possible opponents:

Seeds: Real Madrid, Bayern, Juventus, Benfica, Shakhtar Donetsk, Monaco, Spartak Moscow

Pot three: Napoli, Basel, Olympiakos, Anderlecht, Roma, Besiktas

Pot four: Celtic, CSKA Moscow, Sporting, APOEL, Feyenoord, Maribor, Qarabag, RB Leipzig

Manchester United

United’s Europa League victory earned automatic qualification to the group stages, and boosted their co-efficient enough to lift Jose Mourinho’s team into pot two. That means they avoid the potential difficulties faced by Spurs and Liverpool, but could still face elite sides – including Paul Pogba’s former club Juventus – from among the seeds and pot three. With four home league games following their European matches, Mourinho will hope for a kind draw to focus his efforts on winning the group.

Possible opponents:

Seeds: Real Madrid, Bayern, Juventus, Benfica, Shakhtar Donetsk, Monaco, Spartak Moscow

Pot three: Napoli, Basel, Olympiakos, Anderlecht, Roma, Besiktas

Pot four: Celtic, CSKA Moscow, Sporting, APOEL, Feyenoord, Maribor, Qarabag, RB Leipzig

Manchester United’s Europa League success helped them qualify for the group stages and earned them a place in pot two. Photograph: Michael Dalder/Reuters

Tottenham

Spurs have four league fixtures at Wembley after Champions League matches, and a decent draw could allow them to finally settle into their temporary home. Unfortunately, their position in pot three means that a group of death is a distinct possibility. In their worst-case scenario, Mauricio Pochettino’s team could draw Real Madrid and PSG, while Monaco, who began the run of poor results at Wembley, are another potential opponent.

Possible opponents:

Seeds: Real Madrid, Bayern, Juventus, Benfica, Shakhtar Donetsk, Monaco, Spartak Moscow

Pot two: Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, PSG, Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla, Porto

Pot four: Celtic, CSKA Moscow, Sporting, APOEL, Feyenoord, Maribor, Qarabag, RB Leipzig

Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp’s side are back in the group stages for the first time since 2014-15 after beating Hoffenheim in the play-offs but like Tottenham, need a favour from the draw before they can plan any further ahead. Even if a nightmare draw is avoided, there are plenty of ghosts Klopp may want to avoid. Former manager Brendan Rodgers has led Celtic into pot four, while pot two features Klopp’s former club Dortmund and Sevilla, who denied them a Champions League place last season.

Possible opponents:

Seeds: Real Madrid, Bayern, Juventus, Benfica, Shakhtar Donetsk, Monaco, Spartak Moscow

Pot two: Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, PSG, Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla, Porto

Pot four: Celtic, CSKA Moscow, Sporting, APOEL, Feyenoord, Maribor, Qarabag, RB Leipzig

Liverpool will hope to avoid a place in the group of death after qualifying with victory over Hoffenheim Photograph: Mark Robinson/Getty Images

Celtic

As the only British side in pot four, Celtic face an uphill task to reach the knockout stages but know that a midweek trip to Glasgow will not be high on any side’s wishlist. Celtic can only face one English side but with at least one in every pot, there is a reasonable chance of another battle of Britain. Brendan Rodgers’ side held their own in last season’s group of death but the quirks of the draw mean that a navigable group – Spartak, Porto and Anderlecht, for instance – is not out of the question.

Possible opponents:

Seeds: Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Benfica, Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk, Monaco, Spartak Moscow

Pot two: Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, PSG, Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla, Manchester City, Porto, Manchester United

Pot three: Napoli, Tottenham, Basel, Olympiakos, Anderlecht, Liverpool, Roma, Besiktas

Full Champions League draw pots

Seeded: Real Madrid (champions), Bayern Munich, Juventus, Benfica, Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk, Monaco, Spartak Moscow.

Pot two: Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, PSG, Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla, Manchester City, Porto, Manchester United.

Pot three: Napoli, Tottenham, Basel, Olympiakos, Anderlecht, Liverpool, Roma, Besiktas.

Pot four: Celtic, CSKA Moscow, Sporting Lisbon, APOEL Nicosia, Feyenoord, Maribor, Qarabag, RB Leipzig.

Theguardian.com