Liverpool get kind Europa League draw, Brighton to face Ajax and Marseille
September 1, 2023 08:30 PM
Liverpool were handed a kind draw on Friday for this season's Europa League group stage while their Premier League rivals Brighton and Hove Albion can look forward to meeting European giants Ajax and Marseille in their first ever foray into continental competition.
Jurgen Klopp's Reds will play LASK of Austria, Union Saint-Gilloise of Belgium and French Cup holders Toulouse in Group E.
The Anfield club are appearing in the Europa League for the first time since 2015/16, when they lost the final to Sevilla, after finishing fifth in last season's Premier League.
Liverpool have faced Toulouse in Europe before, beating the French side in the Champions League qualifying rounds in 2007.
Brighton finished sixth domestically last season to qualify for Europe for the first time in their history and have been rewarded with a glamour draw in Group B.
The Seagulls will play Ajax, the four-time former European champions and UEFA Cup winners in 1992, as well as 1993 Champions League winners Marseille and Greek champions AEK Athens.
Last season's Europa Conference League winners West Ham United will also go to Greece to play Olympiakos in Group A, which will also contain German Bundesliga side Freiburg and TSC Backa Topola of Serbia.
TSC are making a rare foray into Europe after coming second in the Serbian league last season.
Following their defeat to PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League play-offs, 2022 Europa League runners-up Rangers were drawn in Group C with Real Betis, Czech champions Sparta Prague and Aris Limassol, the Cypriot title-holders.
Jose Mourinho's Roma, who lost last season's final on penalties to Sevilla, will play Slavia Prague, Sheriff Tiraspol of Moldova and Servette of Geneva in Group G.
The first round of group-stage matches will be played on September 21, with this season's Europa League final being held in Dublin on May 22, 2024.
In the Conference League, Aston Villa were drawn alongside AZ Alkmaar of the Netherlands, Legia Warsaw of Poland and Zrinjski Mostar of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Group E.
AZ will likely be the biggest threat to Unai Emery's team having reached the semi-finals of last season's Conference League before losing to West Ham.
Zrinjski began the campaign in the Champions League having won the Bosnian title last season.
Aberdeen, the sole Scottish club to reach the Conference League group stage, were handed a tough draw alongside Eintracht Frankfurt, PAOK of Greece and last year's Finnish champions HJK Helsinki in Group G.
This season's Conference League final will be played at the Agia Sofia Stadium in Athens on May 29.