The draw for the group stage of the European League (Europa League) in Monaco on Friday produced an easy competition for Liverpool, England, while fellow countryman Brighton faced Ajax, the Netherlands, and Marseille, France, in their first ever participation in this continental competition.
The Reds, led by German Jurgen Klopp, will play against Austria’s LASK, Belgian Union Saint-Geloise, and French Cup holder Toulouse, in Group Five.
This is the first time that Liverpool has competed in the Europa League since the 2015-2016 season, when it lost the final to Sevilla, after finishing last season in fifth place in the English Premier League.
As for Brighton, which finished its season in sixth place locally to qualify for a European competition for the first time in its history, it was far from easy to finish in a second group.
The English team will play Ajax, the four-time European champions and 1992 UEFA Cup winners, along with 1993 Champions League winners Marseille and Greek champions AEK Athens.
As for West Ham, who won the European Conference League (Conference League) last season, they will also play in Greece against Olympiacos in Group A, which also includes the German team Freiburg and Serbian Paka Topola, who is recording a rare European appearance after finishing second in the local league last season.
After their defeat by Dutch Eindhoven in the play-off matches qualifying for the Champions League, the 2022 UEFA Champions League runner-up Rangers were drawn in Group C with Spanish Real Betis, Czech champion Sparta Prague, and Aris Limassol, the holder of the Cypriot league title.
As for Italian Roma, which lost the final last season under the leadership of Portuguese Jose Mourinho on penalties to Seville, it will play in Group G with Slavia Braga of Czech Republic, Sherif Tiraspol of Moldova, and Servet of Switzerland.
The first round of group stage matches is scheduled to be held on September 21, with the Europa League final for this season being held in Dublin on May 22, 2024.