Liverpool handed favourable group draw on UEFA Champions League return

Liverpool have been drawn to face Spartak Moscow, Sevilla and Maribor in this season's UEFA Champions League group stages.

The Reds will face the Russian and Slovenian champions respectively and the five-time UEFA Europa League winners in Group E after being drawn out of pot 3 in Monaco on Thursday.

Jürgen Klopp’s men confirmed their return to the elite European tournament on Wednesday after defeating TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 6-3 over two legs in the play-offs.

Now the German boss will be relishing the start of his first campaign at Anfield in the coveted continental competition.

Klopp not underestimating the opposition

"The draw was exciting and to be a part of it was really special," Klopp told shortly after proceedings. He added that avoiding the big guns was "more good than bad" however, insisted that the favourable opposition won’t be misjudged.

He explained: "With Sevilla, there is an open bill, I would say. But we all know how good they are in European competition. Moscow is a long trip. And Maribor, in this moment you don’t know a lot about them; a lot of people would underestimate them, we will not."

Spartak Moscow, Sevilla and Maribor’s Champions League status has earned them Liverpool’s "100% respect" and Klopp is hoping his side’s displays on the pitch will earn mutual admiration.

Better campaign than 2014-15 expected

The last time the Reds were a part of the competition was in the 2014-15 season under Brendan Rodgers but the club's performance was well below-par.

Only one win in six games and five goals scored against Ludogorets, FC Basel 1893 and Real Madrid spelt group stage elimination having been expected to reach the knock-out rounds.

The five-time winners are now back in the big time though, and are much better suited to advance further under the guidance of a man with a much bigger pedigree. A challenge for the trophy is likely to be unrealistic at this stage, but confidence must be high after discovering their early fate.

Sevilla will be hosted at Anfield to kick things off, before a trip to Slovenia is followed by a daunting journey over to Eastern Europe to mark the halfway point.

Maribor at home comes afterwards before a date in Seville, and the group stage schedule is closed at Anfield against Spartak Moscow in December.