Europa League draw 2012: Liverpool set to face Anzhi and Udinese
Europa League draw 2012: Liverpool are placed in a difficult group alongside Anzhi Makhachkala, Udinese and Young Boys
Liverpool will face Anzhi Makhachkala, Udinese, and Young Boys in the Europa League group stage after the draw was made in Monaco on Friday.
Brendan Rodgers’ side, who edged to a narrow 2-1 aggregate victory over Hearts on Thursday night, were placed in a testing Group A which will see the Reds meet former Intertoto Cup winners Udinese.
The Merseysiders, who are three-time winners of the competition, will also face Young Boys, the Swiss side who beat Tottenham 3-0 in the home leg of their Champions League play-off in 2010.
But perhaps the most difficult test for the Northern Irishman in his debut campaign in Europe will come against cash-rich Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala, who boast prolific goal scorer Samuel Eto’o.
Tottenham’s toughest assignment of the group-stage should come against the 1998 finalists Lazio, while a trip to Panathinaikos will also be demanding, with Slovenia’s NK Maribor completing Group J.
Alan Pardew’s Newcastle United, who eased to a 2-1 aggregate win against Atromitos at St James’ Park on Thursday night, will take on 1996 runners-up Bourdeaux.
The current Magpies squad will be looking to better Bobby Robson’s side who were beaten semi-finalists in 2004, and reach the Europa League final in Amsterdam next May.
And Pardew will be quietly optimistic about getting results against their other Group D opponents, Club Brugge and Portugal’s Marito.
Finally, defending champions Atletico Madrid were handed a relatively kind draw, with Diego Simeone’s side set to face Hapoel Tel-Aviv, Plzen and Academica in Group B.
Europa League group stage draw in full:
Group A: LIVERPOOL, Udinese, Young Boys, Anzhi Makhachkala.
Group B: Atletico Madrid, Hapoel Tel-Aviv, Plzen, Academica.
Group C: Marseille, Fenerbache, Borussia Monchengladbach, AEL.
Group D: Bourdeaux, Club Brugge, NEWCASTLE UNITED, Maritimo.
Group E: Stuttgart, Copenhagen, Steaua Bucharest, Molde.
Group F: PSV Eindhoven, Napoli, Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, AIK.
Group G: Sporting Lisbon, Basel, Genk, Videoton.
Group H: Internazionale, Rubin Kazan, Partizan, Nefti.
Group I: Lyon, Athletic Bilbao, Sparta Praha, Hapoel Kiryat Shmona.
Group J: TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR, Panathinaikos, Lazio, NK Maribor.
Group K: Bayer Leverkusen, Metalist Kharkiv, Rosenborg, Rapid Wien.
Group L: Twente, Hannover 96, Levante, Helsingborg.