Mohamed Salah, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric up for award at Champions League draw

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Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool will learn their Champions League group-stage opponents in Monaco on Thursday.

The draw for the pool phase begins at 6pm at the Grimaldi Forum, with the ceremony also seeing the winners of the UEFA Player Awards being announced.

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah is on the shortlist for the men’s player of the year award, along with Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric.

Ronaldo – now with Juventus – and Modric were part of the Real Madrid side that beat Liverpool 3-1 in last season’s final in Kiev as Los Blancos won the competition for a third successive year.

The 2018-19 final will be held at Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on June 1 next year.

Scottish champions Celtic miss out on Thursday’s draw having been knocked out by AEK Athens in the third qualifying round earlier this month.

There are four pots of eight teams, with one team from each pot forming a group, although teams from the same association cannot face each other.

Premier League champions City, eliminated by Liverpool in the quarter-finals last term, are in pot one along with Real, Europa League winners Atletico, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Paris St Germain and Lokomotiv Moscow.

United and Spurs, who both exited at the last-16 stage in 2017-18, are in pot two, which also features Borussia Dortmund, Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Napoli and Roma, with one more team to join.

Liverpool will be either in that pot or pot three – which includes Schalke, Lyon, Monaco, Ajax and CSKA Moscow – depending on the outcome of Wednesday night’s final matches of the qualifying play-off round.

The first group matches take place on September 18 and 19.

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Tottenham confirm Wembley switch for first Champions League fixture

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Tottenham's new stadium is not ready to host matches.

Tottenham will play their opening Champions League group game at Wembley as the wait goes on for the move into their new stadium.

Spurs have announced an agreement with UEFA to host their first home Champions League match – in either the week of September 17 or October 1 – at Wembley.

Tottenham have already switched their Premier League games against Liverpool on September 15 and Cardiff on October 15 to Wembley.

“We have agreed with UEFA that the first home match day of this season’s Champions League group stage, scheduled on either match day one (week commencing September 17) or match day two (week commencing October 1), will be staged at Wembley Stadium,” read a Tottenham statement.

“Both match days are due to take place between our two Premier League home fixtures against Liverpool (Saturday 15 September) and Cardiff City (Saturday 6 October), which we confirmed last week had been switched to Wembley.”

Spurs have delayed the opening of their new ground at White Hart Lane due to “issues with the critical safety systems”.

Tottenham had been due to host Liverpool at the new ground on September 15.

The English football League (EFL) and Spurs have also confirmed the north London club will have the option to move their League Cup third-round tie, if drawn at home.

Spurs could reverse the fixture, or opt to host at a neutral venue, with Wembley unavailable in the week commencing September 24.

Spurs’ statement continued: “As a further update, should we be drawn at home in round three of the Carabao Cup (week commencing 24 September), then we can apply for special dispensation from the EFL board to reverse the fixture or play at a neutral venue as both our new stadium and Wembley are unavailable during this week.”

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Benfica could face Spartak Moscow in Champions League playoff tie

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Jardel from Benfica during the Eusebio Cup match against Lyon.

Two-time European champions Benfica or Turkish side Fenerbahce could face Russian club Spartak Moscow in the Champions League playoff round later this month after Monday’s draw.

Portuguese giants Benfica and Fenerbahce go head-to-head in the third qualifying round, with the first leg in Lisbon on Tuesday, for the right to play either Greek side PAOK or Spartak for one of the six remaining group-stage places.

Changes to the qualifying criteria mean that the top four from each of the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A and German Bundesliga last season automatically reached this year’s group stage.

Celtic, the 1967 champions, were handed a kind draw against either Swedes Malmo or Hungary’s Vidi – should they can get past AEK Athens in the third qualifying round.

Four-time winners Ajax will take on Slavia Prague or Dynamo Kiev if they see off Standard Liege, while Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven will face either Azeri outfit Qarabag or Belarusians BATE Borisov.

Brendan Rodgers' Celtic have been given a kind draw.

Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic have been given a kind draw.

Benfica, Spartak Moscow, Celtic and Qarabag all played in the Champions League group stage last season.

Draw for the UEFA Champions League playoff round:

Red Star Belgrade (SRB) or Spartak Trnava (SVK) v Salzburg (AUT) or Shkendija (MKD)

Qarabag (AZE) or BATE Borisov (BLR) v PSV Eindhoven (NED)

Young Boys (SUI) v Astana (KAZ) or Dinamo Zagreb (CRO)

Malmo (SWE) or Vidi (HUN) v Celtic (SCO) or AEK Athens (GRE)

Benfica (POR) or Fenerbahce (TUR) v PAOK (GRE) or Spartak Moscow (RUS)

Standard Liege (BEL) or Ajax (NED) v Slavia Prague (CZE) v Dynamo Kiev (UKR)

– First legs to be played August 21/22, second legs August 28/29

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