Champions League group stage draw: Pot 3

All you need to know about the eight teams in Pot 3 ahead of Thursday's group stage draw.

Daley Blind celebrates as Ajax beat Dynamo Kyiv in the play-offs to seal their place in Pot 3
Daley Blind celebrates as Ajax beat Dynamo Kyiv in the play-offs to seal their place in Pot 3 ©Getty Images

Liverpool (ENG)

UEFA coefficient ranking (end of 2017/18): 22
How they qualified: 4th in Premier League
Best European Cup performance: winners x5 (most recently 2004/05)

In a nutshell: Finalists last term after breaking the all-time record for goals in a single UEFA Champions League season (47), Liverpool's European challenge will be bolstered by midfield recruits Fabinho and Naby Keïta. With Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané further forward, Jürgen Klopp's side should rack up the goals once again.

Schalke (GER)

UEFA coefficient ranking (end of 2017/18): 24
How they qualified: 2nd in Bundesliga
Best European Cup performance: semi-finals (2010/11)

Five great Schalke goals
Five great Schalke goals

In a nutshell: Domenico Tedesco, 32, oversees a very balanced squad that impressed with a physical style of play last season. Already second-placed finishers to Bayern in the Bundesliga, they are still in the early stages of their development.

Lyon (FRA)

UEFA coefficient ranking (end of 2017/18): 25
How they qualified: 3rd in Ligue 1
Best European Cup performance: semi-finals (2009/10)

In a nutshell: After a season away, Lyon took third place in Ligue 1 and, with it, an automatic group stage spot thanks to Atlético's UEFA Europa League triumph. Combine the attacking talent of Nabil Fekir, Memphis Depay, Bertrand Traoré and Mariano with new local wonderkid Houssem Aouar, 20, and Lyon may pose a serious threat.

Monaco (FRA)

Five great Monaco goals
Five great Monaco goals

UEFA coefficient ranking (end of 2017/18): 27
How they qualified: 2nd in Ligue 1
Best European Cup performance: runners-up (2003/04)

In a nutshell: Semi-finalists in 2016/17, Monaco have faced several high-profile departures in each of the two last summers – Fabinho and Thomas Lemar the latest. ASM continue to regenerate, though, and boast an excellent mix of youth and experience. Danijel Subašić and Radamel Falcao remain key, with Aleksandr Golovin an eye-catching addition.

Ajax (NED)

UEFA coefficient ranking (end of 2017/18): 31
How they qualified: 2nd in Eredivisie, play-off winners
Best European Cup performance: winners x4 (most recently 1994/95)

In a nutshell: Ajax's first UEFA Champions League group stage outing since 2014/15. Although Justin Kluivert left for Roma, Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong are still in Amsterdam, Daley Blind is back, and Dušan Tadić, Zakaria Labyad and Hassane Bandé have arrived too.

CSKA Moskva (RUS)

UEFA coefficient ranking (end of 2017/18): 35
How they qualified: 2nd in Russian Premier League
Best European Cup performance: quarter-finals (2009/10)

In a nutshell: Golovin, Pontus Wernbloom and Ahmed Musa all moved on while their three main defenders last term – combined age 111 – have retired. A challenging campaign may follow therefore, yet CSKA are shrewd in the transfer market, have a pool of academy talent and a meticulous coach in Viktor Goncharenko. Dismiss them at your peril.

PSV Eindhoven (NED)

UEFA coefficient ranking (end of 2017/18): 40
How they qualified: Dutch champions, play-off winners
Best European Cup performance: winners (1987/88)

In a nutshell: Now under Mark van Bommel, who replaced former team-mate Phillip Cocu in June after previously coaching the Under-19s and assisting father-in-law Bert van Marwijk with the Australian national team. Keeping Hirving Lozano, so impressive for Mexico at the FIFA World Cup, was a big plus.

Valencia (ESP)

Valencia are back in the group stage
Valencia are back in the group stage©Getty Images

UEFA coefficient ranking (end of 2017/18): 41
How they qualified: 4th in Spanish Liga
Best European Cup performance: runners-up x2 (most recently 2000/01)

In a nutshell: Marcelino García Toral has led Valencia back to Europe's elite after a couple of testing seasons. Canny operators in the transfer market, Los Che possess an exciting young squad that will be keen to help the club return to a first European final since UEFA Europa League glory in 2004.

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