Friday, August 31, 2007

Liverpool In For Boumsong

Italian sports daily Tuttosport claims that Liverpool are set to make a surprise move for out-of-favour Juventus stopper Jean-Alain Boumsong.

Tuttosport has claimed that Liverpool are set to pounce for Juventus stopper Jean-Alain Boumsong.

The French international centre-back is out of favour at the Old Lady and, with the arrival of the likes of Jorge Andrade over the summer, his prospects in the first team are limited at best.

Recently, Boumsong has been linked with clubs ranging from Barcelona to Lyon. Predictably, none of the rumours have as yet come to fruition.

Boumsong himself has recently claimed that he forsees a stay at Juventus, saying, "I have Juve on my mind, ready to start the new season. I'm ready to work and looking forward to enjoying time on the pitch.

"There is a 99% chance that I will be at Juve after August 31."

But Tuttosport insisted that Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez is set to look to the ex-Newcastle United defender to play stopgap after the injury to Jamie Carragher.

Neither club has confirmed the news at this time.

Champions League Final Draw

UEFA Champions League holders AC Milan will begin their trophy defence against fellow European title-winners SL Benfica and Celtic FC as well as FC Shakhtar Donetsk after the group stage draw was made at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco.

The 32 teams were split into eight sections of four and while Milan were joined by Benfica and Celtic in Group D, last season's runners-up Liverpool FC must also play two former European champions, meeting FC Porto and Olympique de Marseille along with Beşiktaş JK in Group A. PFC CSKA Moskva, hoping to reach the final in their home city, will take on Group G rivals FC Internazionale Milano, PSV Eindhoven and Fenerbahçe SK.

One place in the group stage is yet to be filled, as the second leg of AEK Athens FC's third qualifying round tie with Sevilla FC was postponed to Monday 3 September due to the death of the Spanish club's midfielder Antonio Puerta on Tuesday. The eventual winners will play in Group H against Arsenal FC, FC Steaua Bucureşti and SK Slavia Praha, newcomers to this stage.

The group stage fixtures will be played on 18/19 September, 2/3 October, 23/24 October, 6/7 November, 27/28 November and 11/12 December, though Milan's last game will be on 4 December due to their participation in the FIFA Club World Cup. The winners and runners-up from each pool will progress to the first knockout round in the spring, with the final set for Moscow on 21 May. Teams finishing third in each section will have the consolation of going into the UEFA Cup Round of 32.

2007/08 UEFA Champions League group stage:

Group A:
Liverpool FC (ENG), FC Porto (POR), Olympique de Marseille (FRA), Beşiktaş JK (TUR)

Group B:
Chelsea FC (ENG), Valencia CF (ESP), FC Schalke 04 (GER), Rosenborg BK (NOR)

Group C:
Real Madrid CF (ESP), Werder Bremen (GER), SS Lazio (ITA), Olympiacos CFP (GRE)

Group D:
AC Milan (ITA), SL Benfica (POR), Celtic FC (SCO), FC Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR)

Group E:
FC Barcelona (ESP), Olympique Lyonnais (FRA), VfB Stuttgart (GER), Rangers FC (SCO)

Group F:
Manchester United FC (ENG), AS Roma (ITA), Sporting Lisbon (POR), FC Dynamo Kyiv (UKR)

Group G:
Inter Milan (ITA), PSV Eindhoven (NED), PFC CSKA Moskva (RUS), Fenerbahçe SK (TUR)

Group H:
Arsenal FC (ENG), FC Steaua Bucureşti (ROU), SK Slavia Praha (CZE), Sevilla FC (ESP) / AEK Athens FC (GRE)