On Tuesday, the new Champions League season gets underway, with Liverpool absent for the first time since 2016/17.

Newcastle, which beat the Reds to fourth place in the Premier League to qualify after 20 years away, kicks off the competition away to Milan at San Siro, before holder Manchester City begins its title defense against Red Star Belgrade.

Then, on Wednesday, Arsenal hosts PSV Eindhoven in its first Champions League appearance since the days of Arsène Wenger, while Manchester United travels to face Bayern Munich in what is potentially the tie of the round.

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Liverpool will instead be playing in the Europa League this year and will get its bid for glory underway on Thursday when it travels to Austrian side LASK.

The Reds have actually missed out on the final edition of the Champions League as we know it, because from 2024/25 the competition is changing.

Next year, there will be 36 teams in the first phase (rather than 32) and the traditional 'group stage' will be no more. Instead, all of the teams will be inserted into a giant league, each playing eight matches against eight different opponents as opposed to six against three.

The teams with the eight best records from those matches will progress automatically to the round of 16, while those who finish between ninth and 24th in the overall table will compete in a two-legged play-off for a place in the knockout stages.

But how will the four extra places be filled? Well, one of them will go to the club ranked third in the country that sits fifth in UEFA's national association leaderboard, currently the Netherlands, and another will go to an additional domestic champion in Europe.

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Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp.

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The final two spots, though, will be awarded to the countries whose teams have performed best in European competitions in the preceding season. This will be determined by adding up the total number of 'points' the clubs have achieved with their progression, and dividing it by the number of participating sides for an average.

Last season, the two countries that fared best by this metric were England and the Netherlands, so the Premier League and Eredivisie would each have been awarded an extra place. That, ironically, means Liverpool would have qualified.

This time around, Jürgen Klopp's side will hope to make the top four and qualify by conventional means, but while it has made a strong start to the season to claim an early third place, it is a highly competitive bracket. Fellow Europa League side Brighton looks very strong, while Newcastle and Manchester United are sure to climb the table after slow starts.

And if Liverpool does slip down to fifth, it may need to cheer on its domestic rivals to do it a favor and 'unlock' an extra place.

For years, there's been a prevailing misconception in media coverage that English fans cheer on other English clubs in Europe, even though the vast majority don't want to see competitors succeed. It might finally be true this year, though Liverpool supporters will hope it doesn't apply to them.