Europa League draw preview: Liverpool will today find out their opponents for the competition’s ‘Round of 32’…
After a difficult week, which has seen us crash out of the Champions League and lose 3-0 at old rivals Manchester United, we today discover our Europa League fate, as the draw for the ‘Round of 32’ takes place.
As explained by Liverpool’s official website, the Reds enter the knockout stages of the competition following their third-place Group B finish and elimination from the Champions League last Tuesday.
Brendan Rodgers’ side are unseeded and could be paired with any of 15 different teams from across the continent, for a two-legged tie that will be held on February 19 and 26 next year.
Those sides include fellow Champions League drop-outs Athletic Bilbao, Olympiacos, Sporting Lisbon and Zenit St. Petersburg – who earned the most points out of the eliminated teams and thus earned a seeded ranking.
Zenit eliminated Liverpool the last time they played in the Europa League in 2013, and we will no doubt want to avoid a trip to Russia. Lisbon proved against Chelsea that they are no push overs, and would also provide tough opposition.
Other potentially dangerous ties include Bundesliga high-flyers Borussia Monchengladbach, Turkish giants Besiktas – who have already played Arsenal and Tottenham this season – and Italian duo Inter Milan and Napoli – the latter of which is managed by former Reds’ boss Rafael Benitez.
The remaining options are Club Brugge, Dinamo Moscow, Dynamo Kyiv, Feyenoord, Fiorentina, Legia Warsaw and Red Bull Salzburg – who were in highly impressive form in the competition’s group stage, beating Celtic in Glasgow on their way to 16 points out of 18.