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Page last updated at 14:22 GMT, Friday, 27 August 2010 15:22 UK

Liverpool and Man City given tough Europa League draw

Man City celebrate beating FC Timisoara
Man City qualified by beating FC Timisoara on Wednesday

Manchester City face a tough test in the Europa League group stage after they were drawn with Juventus.

As well as the Italian giants, Roberto Mancini's team also face Salzburg of Austria and Lech Poznan of Poland.

Liverpool had an unkind draw too, the Reds put into Group K along with Romania's Steaua Bucharest, Italy's Napoli and Utrecht of the Netherlands.

The draw saw the 48 clubs divided into 12 groups of four teams, with the top two from each set progressing.

Manchester City summer signing Mario Balotelli was the victim of racist abuse from Juventus supporters during his time as an Inter Milan player.

Two seasons ago Juve were ordered to play a home game behind closed doors after an incident aimed at Balotelli, who is of Ghanaian descent.

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And during the last campaign the Serie A club banned several supporters after they chanted discriminatory remarks about Balotelli during a cup match against Napoli.

"I think a new season is a chance to show new behaviour, and to show also at a European level that the Italian supporters, or more particularly those of Juve, have understood the messages and the sanctions that were handed out," said Juventus general manager Jean-Claude Blanc.

"Supporting your team is to support your team, and not to make remarks of a racist nature toward other players. We will be extremely demanding and intransigent about this."

Brian Marwood, Manchester City's head of football administration, said: "Mario, like all of our players, I'm sure, will be relishing the opportunity.

"He's a young man with an incredibly bright future ahead of him and we will give him every support and help that he needs.

"We will leave it to the authorities to deal with anything that happens but we are not anticipating any issue."

Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard admitted that the Europa League is not his club's top priority - but is confident the Reds will progress from the group stage.

"It's a strong group and I'm certainly looking forward to the games," said Gerrard.

"I'm confident we can get out of the group but it will be tough. I don't think the Europa League is the priority. Everybody knows that our league position, where we finish at the end of this year, is the priority.

"But it's another trophy, it's a big cup. We haven't won a trophy for four years now so it's important we put a good show on in all the cup competitions and try to reward the fans with a final."

Group J also looks extremely competitive, with Sevilla, Paris Saint Germain, Borussia Dortmund and Karpaty Lviv all competing for the top two places.

The group stage begins on 16 September and when it concludes three months later the top two teams from each group will go through to the final 32 - where they will be joined by the eight third-placed finishers in the Champions League group stage

Holders Atletico Madrid defeated Fulham in last season's final and are in Group B, along with Bayer Leverkusen, Rosenburg and Aris Thessaloniki.


Group A

Juventus
Manchester City
Salzburg
Lech Poznan

Group B

Atletico Madrid
Bayer Leverkusen
Rosenburg
Thessaloniki

Group C

Sporting
Lille
Levski Sofia
Gent

Group D

Villarreal
Club Brugge
Dinamo Zagreb
PAOK

Group E

Alkmaar
Dinamo Kiev
BATE Borisov
FC Sheriff

Group F

CSKA Moscow
Palermo
Sparta Prague
Lausanne

Group G

Zenit St Petersburg
Anderlecht
AEK Athens
Hajduk Split

Group H

Stuttgart
Getafe
Odense
Young Boys

Group I

PSV Eindhoven
Sampdoria
FC Metalist Kharkiv
Debreceni

Group J

Sevilla
PSG
Borussia Dortmund
Karpaty Lviv

Group K

Liverpool
Steaua Bucharest
Napoli
Utrecht

Group L

Porto
Besiktas
CSKA Sofia
Rapid Vienna



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see also
Europa League draw as it happened
27 Aug 10 |  Europe
Trabzonspor 1-2 L'pool (agg 1-3)
26 Aug 10 |  Europe
Man City 2-0 Timisoara (agg 3-0)
26 Aug 10 |  Europe
Aston Villa 2-3 Rapid V (agg 3-4)
26 Aug 10 |  Europe
Utrecht 4-0 Celtic (agg 4-2)
26 Aug 10 |  Europe
AEK 1-1 Dundee Utd (agg 2-1)
26 Aug 10 |  Europe
Motherwell 0-1 Odense (agg 1-3)
26 Aug 10 |  Europe
TNS 2-2 CSKA Sofia (agg 2-5)
26 Aug 10 |  Europe
Tottenham face Inter Milan test
26 Aug 10 |  Europe
Atletico Madrid 2-1 Fulham (aet)
12 May 10 |  Europe


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