Steven Gerrard braced for ‘tough’ Europa League tests
Steven Gerrard has warned that Liverpool will face stern competition in their Europa League group, but remains confident his side can progress to the knock-out phase.
The Reds were drawn with Italian side Napoli, Romania’s Steaua Bucharest and Utrecht of the Netherlands in Group K on Friday ahead of a new season of European action.
“It’s a strong group and I’m certainly looking forward to the games,” Gerrard, 30, told Liverpool’s website. “The media will make us early favourites I’m sure, because of our experience in the Champions League and last year in the Europa League.
“I’m confident we can get out of the group but it will be tough. The draw has given us some difficult challenges.”
And the England midfielder was quick to stress he believes Liverpool’s priority this season should be attaining the highest-possible finish in the Premier League.
“I don’t think the Europa League is the priority,” he added. “Everybody knows that our league position, where we finish at the end of this year, is the priority.
“But it’s another trophy, it’s a big cup. We haven’t won a trophy for four years now so it’s important we put a good show on in all the cup competitions and try to reward the fans with a final.”
Liverpool kick off their European campaign at Anfield against Steaua Bucharest on 16 September, with Roy Hodgson’s men then travelling to Italy for their clash with Napoli on 21 October.