Liverpool Football Club have finally found out who they will face in the first round of the UEFA Europa League after the draw for the Group Stages took place earlier today in Monaco. Rubin Kazan, Girondins Bordeaux and FC Sion occupy places in Group B along with our beloved Reds. This means that Brendan Rodgers and his boys will be making visits to Russia, France and Switzerland over the course of the coming three months.
As is the case with most football fans who have just become aware of their group rivals, I’m still busy trying to figure out whether or not this draw was a favourable one. After a bit of head scratching and pondering, I think that I can safely say that we have been handed a good draw.
Looking at our rivals, I would say that we have been lucky enough to get some relatively easier teams. Rubin Kazan would have to be the weakest team on paper in Pot 1, and we were lucky enough to land them. Yes, I do accept that it’s not right to assume that a team is weaker than another just by seeing what it has to offer. But then again, we could have been drawn against Dortmund, Schalke, Napoli, Bilbao, Sporting Lisbon, Dnipro, Basel, Villareal, Ajax and Marseille. I just named every other team that was in Pot 1 other than Rubin Kazan and you will have to admit that every single name there is a lot tougher than who we got.
Coming to Pot 3, Bordeaux is still decent opposition when you consider that we could have easily landed Monaco, Lokomotiv, Fenerbahce or Sparta Prague. Pot 4 does not require too much dissecting because let’s face it, there is no way to tell who’s better and who’s worse from the teams that occupy this pot. Looking at it from a different angle, I’d say that it’s good that we have to face a team from Switzerland because we can easily scope them out. What on Earth were we to do had we been drawn against a team from Azerbaijan?
Finally, another major reason behind me considering our draw a favourable one would have to be the fact that we do not have to travel as much as other teams. Rubin Kazan, who are located far away in Russia, represent our trickiest away journey where as Bordeaux and Sion include simple trips to France and Switzerland.
If we were to compare ourselves with Spurs, then we’d definitely find ourselves way better off as they have to travel even further to Azerbaijan! In conclusion, I’d say that we have been lucky enough to receive a very favourable draw where we don’t have to travel too far and nor do we have to face the toughest teams in the competition.