Europa League play-off hands Liverpool tricky Trabzonspor tie

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Liverpool will have to beat Trabzonspor to qualify for the Europa League, having been drawn against the Turkish side in a play-off.

Roy Hodgson’s men brushed aside Macedonian outfit Rabotnicki with ease in the previous round, but their next opponents will be a far tougher proposition.

In what could prove to be a significant first week of the season, Liverpool will play Trabzonspor just four days after their opening Premier League match on August 15th, which they are 7/5 to win against Arsenal.

Manchester City travel to Romania to face Timisoara, and the Europa League is one of many trophies manager Roberto Mancini will be hoping to win at Eastlands this season.

Before the first leg in Romania on August 19th, City visit Tottenham for their first Premier League match of the season, which they are 15/8 to win.

The third English side in the draw, Aston Villa, have been drawn with Rapid Vienna for a second successive season.

Welsh side TNS face a difficult trip to Bulgarian side CSKA Sofia, while Celtic will play Utrecht of Holland. Dundee United and Motherwell will play AEK Athens and Odense respectively.

In other interesting ties, Greek club PAOK take on Fenerbahce in a potentially fiery clash, and Italian giants Juventus (4/1 to win the Serie A title this season) face Austria’s Sturm Graz.

Selected Europa League play-off draw

Liverpool v Trabzonspor
Timisoara v Manchester City
Rapid Vienna v Aston Villa
CSKA Sofia v TNS
Celtic v Utrecht
Dundee United v AEK Athens
Odense v Motherwell
CSKA Moscow v Anorthosis
Palermo v Maribor
Sporting v Brondby
Sturm Graz v Juventus
PAOK v Fenerbahce

Ties to be played on August 19th and 26th

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.