Liverpool handed favourable draw in Europa League group stage

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Sept 1 (Reuters) – Liverpool will take on LASK, Union Saint-Gilloise and Toulouse in the Europa League group stage while debutants Brighton & Hove Albion will face Ajax Amsterdam and Olympique de Marseille following the draw on Friday.

Liverpool, who have lifted the trophy on three occasions, will be hot favourites to qualify top from Group E.

Brighton face a tough task in their bid to progress past the group stage on their debut in European competition.

Along with former champions Ajax and three-time finalists Marseille, Brighton’s third opponents in a strong Group B are Greek champions AEK Athens.

Europa Conference League champions West Ham United were drawn with Olympiacos, Freiburg and TSC Backa Topola in Group A.

Last season’s runners-up AS Roma meet Slavia Prague, Sheriff Tiraspol and Servette in Group G, while 1988 winners Bayer Leverkusen of Germany face Qarabag, Molde FK and BK Hacken in Group H.

The group stage begins from Sept. 21.

The winners of each group advance directly to the round of 16 that will take place from February onwards.

Group runners-up will progress to the knockout stage playoff round, where they will meet one of eight teams that have finished third in their groups in the top-tier Champions League.

Third-placed teams in the Europa League groups will drop to the third-tier Europa Conference League where they will play the group runners-up from that competition in the knockout round playoffs.

The Europa League final will take place at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium on May 22 next year.

The UEFA Europa Conference League

The Europa League final will take place on 29 May at the Agia Sofia Stadium in Athens, Greece.

With a capacity of 32,000, the stadium, which is also referred to as the AEK Arena for UEFA competitions, is the home of AEK Athens.

Group A: LOSC Lille, Slovan Bratislava, Olimpija Ljubljana, KI Klaksvik

Group B: Gent, Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Zorya Luhansk, Breidablik

Group C: Dinamo Zagreb, Viktoria Plzen, Astana, Ballkani

Group D: Club Brugge, Bodø/Glimt, Beşiktas, Lugano

Group E: AZ Alkmaar, Aston Villa, Legia Warsaw, Zrinjski

Group F: Ferencváros, Fiorentina, Genk, Cukaricki

Group G: Frankfurt, PAOK, HJK Helsinki, Aberdeen

Group H: Fenerbahçe, Ludogorets, Spartak Trnava, Nordsjælland

Group G of the UEFA Europa League is shown on an electronic panel after the UEFA Europa League draw at the UEFA European Club Football Season Kick-Off event in Monaco, 01 September 2023. The event hosts the UEFA Europa League & Europa Conference League draws. EPA-EFE/GUILLAUME HORCAJUELO

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