Champions League draw: Rodgers excited about Liverpool v Real Madrid
Liverpool were given a relatively easy group in Thursday's (Aug 28) Champions League draw when they were grouped with title holders Real Madrid, Swiss club Basel and Bulgarian unknowns Ludogorets Razgrad.
Barring a catastrophe, the Merseyside club should mark their return to the Champions League for first time since the 2009/2010 season by qualifying for the knock-out phase along with Spanish giants Real Madrid.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said: “Initially, we’re excited. To be back in it again, no matter who we were going to play, it was always going to be exciting. But to have Real Madrid in your group, the champions last season, is going to be special. I’m already thinking of Anfield on that night.”
Brendan Rodgers is happy to be back in the Champions League. Photo: Reuters
Anfield legend Jamie Carragher said on Twitter that Liverpool had a great change to qualify from the group.
In contrast Manchester City were grouped together with Pep Guardiola's Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow and a resurgent AS Roma.
Manchester City’s director of football Txiki Begiristain said: “It’s a very, very, tough group. They are very strong teams. I think (it’s the toughest group). It’s spectacular all the clubs try to play good football.
"It will be an amazing group. We are happy with the squad we have for this season. We’ve signed some very good players. We want to improve in the Champions League,"
AS Roma president James Pallotta acknowledged that they were given a tough draw but nonetheless was looking forward to the facing their opponents.
“Will it be difficult for us? It will be difficult for the teams who have to play us. You have to play and beat the best if you want to progress in the Champions League," he said.
Arsenal were drawn with Turkish club Galatasaray, former German champions Borussia Dortmund and Belgian club Anderlecht.
Meanwhile Jose Mourinho's Chelsea were grouped with Germany's Schalke 04, Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon and Slovenian team Maribor.
Both English teams should easily qualify for the knock-out stages of the Champions League.
The first games of the group stages kick off on Sept 16.
Source: Reuters, UEFA.com,