Two new trips; one 2007 throwback – Liverpool discover Europa League group opponents

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Liverpool have learned the three teams they’ll face in the Europa League group stage, with the draw being made on Friday lunchtime.

Jurgen Klopp’s side will be hoping their continental odyssey takes them all the way to lifting the trophy in Dublin next May, enabling them to win the one competition which has eluded the German during his reign at Anfield.

The Reds are joined in Group E by LASK from Austria, Union Saint-Gilloise of Belgium and Coupe de France winners Toulouse (LFC official website).

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Of the three teams Liverpool will be facing in the group stage, two represent first-time opposition for the Reds in Europe.

LASK have been regular participants in continental competitions in recent years, reaching the last 16 of this tournament in 2019/20 before succumbing to Manchester United.

Meanwhile, Union Saint-Gilloise could easily have been in yesterday’s Champions League draw, having come within minutes of winning the Belgian top flight last season before Royal Antwerp dramatically snatched the title.

They were only promoted to the top tier a couple of years ago but won the title in 2022 and made it all the way to the Europa League quarter-finals last term.

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Toulouse, the lowest-ranked team in Liverpool’s group, have met the Reds before, with the two sides facing off in the Champions League qualifying rounds in 2007/08.

Rafael Benitez’s side won the first leg 1-0 thanks to an Andriy Voronin screamer before cruising to a 4-0 win at Anfield to book their place in the group stage.

Les Violets only finished 13th in Ligue 1 last season but owe their place in Europe this term to their Coupe de France triumph, thrashing Nantes 5-1 in the final.

All in all, it’s a group which’ll probably satisfy Liverpool supporters, with Austria the furthest away trip and some fiendish opponents avoided.

There could be some stern tests in the group for the Reds, but at their best they’ll surely have enough to top the pile and proceed straight to the round of 16.

The group matches take place on 21 September, 5 October, 26 October, 9 November, 30 November and 14 December, with the full fixture schedule set to be announced no later than Saturday morning.

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