Liverpool and Hearts to meet in all-British Europa League tie
A comfortable aggregate victory over FC Gomel secured Liverpool’s Europa League play-off berth last night, with the reward a tie against SPL side Hearts.
Brendan Rodgers’ new charges ran out 3-0 winners over Belarusians Gomel at Anfield, rounding off a 4-0 triumph across two legs to see them fulfil a play-off spot as expected.
They will now meet the Scottish Cup winners at Tynecastle on August 27th, with the return leg to come a week later on Merseyside.
Liverpool were not the only English side in the hat however, with Newcastle also receiving a favourable draw.
The Magpies will square off against Atromitos of Greece in their play-off, and will fancy their chances considering the scarce European experience within their opponents’ ranks.
What could prove most troublesome for the Toon though, is the scheduling of their trip to Greece.
Alan Pardew’s men will travel for the away leg of the tie in between their Premier League opener with Tottenham, and journey to Champions League winners Chelsea.
Elsewhere in Britain meanwhile, Scottish outfit Motherwell have been handed a tricky draw against La Liga side Levante.
Motherwell will play the home leg of the clash first, but will certainly have their work cut out against a side that beat Spanish champions Real Madrid last season.
Other notable ties include moneybags Anzhi Makhachkala taking on quarter-finalists of last season AZ Alkmaar, whilst a strong outfit will be eliminated from the meeting of Feyenoord and Sparta Prague.
Stuttgart will take on Dinamo Moscow in another heavyweight bout, while Sporting Lisbon, who narrowly missed out on last year’s final, should progress over Danish minnows Horsens.
The side that last year eliminated them to reach the final, Athletic Bilbao, will face a more difficult task against HSJ Helsinki, but will fancy their chances of advancement nonetheless.
And Russian side CSKA Moscow, who will be among the tournament favourites after an impressive Champions League showing last term, must conquer AEK Athens over two legs to progress.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.