Sunday, September 02, 2012

Reds Face Anzhi Trip

Liverpool have been drawn against Udinese, Young Boys Bern and FC Anzhi Makhachkala in the group stages of the Europa League.

Brendan Rodgers' side ensured their place in the group stages of the competition with a nervy 2-1 aggregate win over SPL side Hearts on Thursday and went in Friday's draw in Monaco as top seeds.

However, despite that seeding they have been dealt a tricky looking draw in Group A with Italian side Udinese, Swiss outfit Young Boys and big-spending Anzhi - who are perhaps the most intriguing side for the Reds.

The club is based in the Russian Republic of Dagestan and is owned by billionaire Suleyman Kerimov, who has invested heavily in the club in recent seasons.

Former Holland coach Guus Hiddink arrived as their manager earlier this summer while they can also boast the highest-paid player in the world in their ranks - Cameroon legend Samuel Eto'o.

Newcastle are back in Europe for the first time since 2007 following their fine fifth place finish last term and qualified for the group stages with a 2-1 aggregate win over Atromitos.

They should be reasonably pleased with their draw in Group D, which pits them against Bordeaux, Club Brugge and Maritimo.

Toon boss Alan Pardew will also be relieved that those fixtures will not involve lengthy journeys across the continent.

Tottenham, who exited this competition at the group stages last season, face trips to Greece, Italy and Slovenia after they were drawn with Panathinaikos, Lazio and Maribor.

The clash with Serie A side Lazio is perhaps the stand-out tie for Andre Villas-Boas' men, while Maribor played Championship side Birmingham City in the group stages of last year's competition.

The group matches begin on September 20 with the final set to take place in the Amsterdam Arena on May 15 2013.

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