The club has released the dates for the group stage matches of the Champions League. Liverpool will take the first step towards Mother Russia in Portugal on Tuesday, September 18th.
Liverpool’s CL schedule:
Tuesday, Sept. 18 — at Porto
- Probably the toughest game of the set. While one could make an argument to the difficult manner of starting the group stage with such a match, but to get the hardest (on-paper) game out of way on the first matchday is a blessing in my book.
Wednesday, Oct. 3 — vs. Marseille
- The return of Djib and Bolo. I’m sure they’ll recieve polite applause, but the spoils should go to the men in red.
Wednesday, Oct. 24 — at Besiktas
- Simply put, it’s a disagreeable place to play. While their teams are generally shit, teams from Turkey (and Greece) certainly enjoy a home-field advantage because of the barbaric nature of their fans. Yes, in general, I have very little respect for them.
Tuesday, Nov. 6 — vs. Besiktas
- In theory, this should be a feast.
Wednesday, Nov. 28 — vs. Porto
- Not a gimme by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s more than possible only a point from this match would wrap up passage to the knock-out stages. That is, if it hasn’t already been booked, which is also a (preferred, but unlikely) possibility.
Tuesday, Dec. 11 — at Marseille
- We finish the group stage the same way we started; away from home. Hopefully, qualification will be locked up by this date and it’ll be a squad half-full of youngsters getting a run-out.
Rafa responded to the draw in an even keeled, if not perfectly predictable, manner:
It’s clear when you look at some of the other groups that ours could have been easier.
Porto have good experience in the Champions League and have enjoyed a good record over recent seasons. They will be tough opposition for us. Marseille are a good side in the French league and they will know a lot about us which could make it more difficult. And you always know when you go to Turkey that it will be hard because of the travelling involved and the wonderful support they give their teams over there.
I am always confident we can qualify but as ever the key will be winning the home games and picking up results away.
Taking a look at all the groups, there should be plenty of great matches on offer this Fall. Plus, it’s rather refreshing to have a name like Bayern Munich completely absent from the preceedings.
For shits and giggles, I’ll say the groups might shake out like this:
Group B: The Dream Continues: Chelsea & Valencia; UEFA Cup-bound: Schalke; Thanks For Playing: Rosenberg
Group C: The Dream Continues: Real Madrid & Werder Bremen; UEFA Cup-bound: Lazio; Thanks For Playing: Olympiacos
Group D: The Dream Continues: Milan & Benfica; UEFA Cup-bound: Celtic; Thanks For Playing: Shakhtar
Group E: The Dream Continues: Barca & Stuttgart; UEFA Cup-bound: Lyon; Thanks For Playing: Rangers
Group F: The Dream Continues: Man United & Roma; UEFA Cup-bound: Sporting; Thanks For Playing: Dynamo Kyiv
Group G: The Dream Continues: Inter & PSV; UEFA Cup-bound: Fenerbache; Thanks For Playing: CSKA Moskva
Group H: The Dream Continues: Arsenal & Sevilla; UEFA Cup-bound: Slavia Prague; Thanks For Playing: FC Steaua
Quite honestly, the seedings are dead-on and there shouldn’t be too many suprises. Yet, outside of Group A, it wouldn’t hurt my feelings one iota if there were a ton of them.