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Champions League draw: Holders Liverpool drawn with Napoli

Holders Liverpool will face Napoli, Salzburg and Genk in the Champions League group stage this season.

Premier League champions Manchester City were drawn alongside Shakhtar Donetsk, Dinamo Zagreb and Atalanta.

Last year’s runners-up Tottenham are in a group with five-time European Cup winners Bayern Munich, plus Olympiakos and Red Star Belgrade.

Chelsea must negotiate a group including 2019 semi-finalists Ajax, Valencia and Lille.

European heavyweights Paris St-Germain and Real Madrid were drawn together in Group A while former winners Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund and Inter Milan will all meet in Group F.

This year’s group stage begins on Tuesday, 17 September while the final is on Saturday, 30 May at the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul.

Liverpool met Napoli in the group stage of last year’s competition, winning at home and losing the away tie in Italy, before going on to win the tournament for a sixth time.

“Napoli are obviously a very experienced side and their coach Carlo Ancelotti has won the competition,” said manager Jurgen Klopp.

“I will need now to have another, closer look at Genk and Salzburg, but I already know they are very young, very exciting and very fresh, so it will be interesting, 100%.”

It will be the third year in a row Manchester City, who lost in the quarter-final to Spurs last season, will face Shakhtar in the group stage.

“Zagreb and Atalanta are new opponents for us, but both teams play really good football and I think you will see some great games in this group,” City director of football Txiki Begiristain said.

Tottenham reached the European Cup final for the first time last season and forward Son Heung-min said they must “remember and learn from” the campaign.

“Bayern will be special because they are one of the biggest teams in Europe, you’re always excited to play in this competition against these teams,” the South Korea international added.

Group stage draw in full:

Group A: Paris St-Germain, Real Madrid, Club Bruges, Galatasaray

Group B: Bayern Munich, Tottenham, Olympiakos, Red Star Belgrade

Group C: Manchester City, Shakhtar Donetsk, Dinamo Zagreb, Atalanta

Group D: Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Moscow

Group E: Liverpool, Napoli, Salzburg, Genk

Group F: Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan, Slavia Prague

Group G: Zenit St Petersburg, Benfica, Lyon, RB Leipzig

Group H: Chelsea, Ajax, Valencia, Lille

Champions League stats

  • Liverpool will be looking to become the first English team to reach three consecutive Champions League/European Cup finals.
  • Over the past two Champions League campaigns, Liverpool have scored more goals (65) and won more games (15) than any other side in the competition.
  • Liverpool are unbeaten at Anfield in all European competition since October 2014 (W16 D6), since a 0-3 loss to Real Madrid in the Champions League group stage of the 2014-15 season.
  • Pep Guardiola reached the semi-finals in each of his first seven seasons as manager in the Champions League but hasn’t made it past the quarter-finals in each of his three seasons with Man City.
  • Chelsea have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League 14 times in their previous 15 appearances.
  • Chelsea have the best win rate in the Champions League group stages (inc. group stage 1st and 2nd) among all English teams (min. 7 games), with the Blues winning 59% of their games (57/96).
  • Tottenham have lost three of their last four Champions League matches (W1), as many defeats as they’d registered in their previous 18 (W11 D4 L3).

Source: BBC

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