Liverpool have been drawn in a comparatively tough group on their return to the Champions League.
They have been allotted to Group B alongside Real Madrid, last season’s winners; Swiss outfit FC Basel and Bulgarian side Ludogorets Razgrad. While Ludogorets should be an easy outing for Rodgers’s side, Basel would definitely be a tricky fixture. Real Madrid would be big test where the manager and the team would have to prove their credentials.
While everyone has spoken about how this would be a daunting return to the Champions League for the Reds, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers seemed calm and enthusiastic about the draw and said that it is ‘special’ to have Los Blancos in your group.
“Initially, we’re excited,” he told the club’s official website
“That was last season’s hard work, what we were working towards – getting Liverpool back into a competition where we are synonymous. 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. But there are two other good teams in it along with us. It’s a tough group but we’ll really look forward to the challenge of getting out of the group.”
Liverpool have never lost a game against Real Madrid having faced the Spanish biggies three times previously (winning each time)
Rodgers has said that the initial goal for the Reds this time is to get past the group stage and they would only focus on that at the moment. Making further plans don’t make sense and Liverpool should take it one step at a time, the philosophy Rodgers is sticking to.
“The notion for us was to get out of the group stage – we can look no further than that,” he said
“It was great excitement and hopefully it was great for the supporters to sit and watch the draw for the first time in five years.
“Now we know the teams that we’re playing, we’ll focus to get out of the group. That’s as far as you can look. Once you get out of the group stages, you take it from there. Preparation will start straight away. Some of the teams we’re well aware of; we watch the likes of Real Madrid nearly every week and we know their players.
“But as soon as the draw is finalised, the work and the focus will be on that. We have our analysis team behind the scenes who will do all the preparation work we need for our opponents. It will be exciting for them as well.”
The Liverpool boss was visibly happy and once again hailed his players as well as the club’s supporters.
He added: “I’ll be very proud but more proud for the players and the supporters, for what they have put into us arriving there. They will be critical and they are going to be key for us throughout the league campaign and the Champions League campaign. The nights at Anfield are really special. To see that flag back out in the middle of the pitch and for the supporters to get behind their team like they do is going to be an amazing experience.”