football

Europa League & Europa Conference League state of play: What next for Liverpool, West Ham, Brighton, Rangers, Aston Villa & Aberdeen?

The state of play, tables and results after the final group games in the Europa League and Europa Conference League.

In the Champions League, winning the group is regarded as important to secure a home match in the second leg of the round of 16. In the Europa League, finishing in first place ensures a team skips a round of games.

The eight group winners earn a direct place in the last 16 of the competition, whereas finishing in second place only gets a team a play-off match against the clubs who drop into the Europa League as third-place finishers in Champions League groups.

This season, that includes the likes of AC Milan, Benfica and Feyenoord, who came third in their respective Champions League groups.

West Ham had already secured progress from their group but sealed top spot with a 2-0 win over Freiburg at the London Stadium.

The German side had also locked up a place in the next round and go into the play-off.

Olympiakos advance to the Europa Conference League play-off after beating Backa Topola in their final group match.

Brighton secured progress from their group in their penultimate game in Athens but had to beat Marseille to finish top - they did that with an 89th-minute goal from Joao Pedro.

Ajax's final-fixture win over AEK Athens means they go into the Europa Conference League play-off.

Rangers pulled off an historic 3-2 win at Real Betis to win their group. They looked to be going into the Europa Conference League play-off at one point, with Sparta Prague comfortable winners at Aris. But a late Kemar Roofe strike helped the Scottish side to victory.

Betis will instead head into the play-off for the Europa Conference League, with Sparta into the Europa League play-off for a place in the last-16 along with Rangers.

Atalanta had already sealed first place in this group and Sporting were booked in for second.

Sturm Graz pipped Rakow to third place and a Europa Conference League play-off on goal difference.

Liverpool secured first place with a 4-0 thrashing of LASK in November, but suffered a 2-1 defeat to Union Saint-Gilloise in the final game.

Toulouse secured second place in the final round of fixtures by beating LASK 2-1 away from home.

Villarreal snuck into top spot at Rennes' expense after the Yellow Submarine won 3-2 in France thanks to Dani Parejo's late winner.

Both sides had already secured a spot in the knockout stages of the competition beforehand, leaving Maccabi Haifa resigned to the Conference League and Panathinaikos eliminated completely.

Slavia Prague secured top spot over Jose Mourinho's Roma after picking up a 4-0 win over Servette.

Roma had to hope for a slip up in that game, though the Serie A made it safely through themselves with a 3-0 win over Sheriff Tiraspol.

After their 5-1 win over Molde, Bayer Leverkusen have six wins from six which puts them into the last 16 with ease.

Qarabag's win over Hacken meant they edged Molde to second spot in the group, and they will go into the play-offs.

The eight teams that finished third in their Champions League groups drop into the Europa League play-offs, where they will face one of the eight second-placed sides from the Europa League groups.

The play-off draw will be held on Monday December 18 at 12pm. The first legs will take place on Thursday February 15, with the return games a week later.

The eight teams entering the play-offs from the Champions League are:

Aston Villa secured a top spot in Group E which means they will go straight into the last 16 of the Europa Conference League.

Had Villa lost to Zrinjski on Thursday night, they would have been put in the February play-offs.

Aberdeen secured a third-place finish in Group G by beating Eintracht Frankurt 2-0 at Pittodrie.

The game had nothing riding on it with the Dons already eliminated from the competition and PAOK Salonika already confirmed as group winners.