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Liverpool and Tottenham to be tested in Italy in Europa League group stages

Updated: Friday, 31 Aug 2012 17:05 | Comments

Alan Pardew's Newcastle were the surprise package in the Premier League last season
Alan Pardew's Newcastle were the surprise package in the Premier League last season

Tottenham and Liverpool were both handed Italian jobs after being paired with Lazio and Udinese in today's Europa League group-stage draw.

Spurs - denied a Champions League spot despite finishing fourth in the Barclays Premier League after Chelsea's European Cup triumph - were placed in Group J, which also contained Greek club Panathinaikos and Maribor of Slovenia.

Three-time winners Liverpool will  face mega-rich Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala and Swiss side Young Boys in Group A.

They and Tottenham were both top seeds but were arguably handed tougher groups than Newcastle, who were seeded third ahead of their first European campaign for six years.

The Magpies were in Group D along with Bordeaux, Club Brugge and Maritimo.

Manager Alan Pardew watched the draw live on television with several of his players this afternoon and told his club's official website: "My gut reaction is that the travelling is good, so I'm pleased about that - I didn't really want to go to the Ukraine or Russia or anywhere.

"The teams are of the standard you would expect in Europe so it's a tough-ish group, not the toughest by any means, but not the weakest so it's a test for us."

Newcastle were last in Europe in 2006, the same year Pardew led West Ham into what was then the UEFA Cup.

"Last time at West Ham, we drew the top team in Serie A at the time," he added. "Palermo had the best team in their history at that point so we were unlucky! This draw - and the draw in the qualifier - has been a little bit easier on me and I'm pleased about that on a personal level."

Group A: Liverpool, Udinese, Young Boys, Anzhi Makhachkala

Group B: Atlético Madrid, Hapoel Tel Aviv, Viktoria Plzen, Académica Coimbra

Group C: Marseille, Fenerbahce, Borussia Mönchengladbach, AEL Limassol

Group D: Bordeaux, Club Brugge, Newcastle, Marítimo

Group E: VfB Stuttgart, FC Copenhagen, Steaua Bucharest, Molde

Group F: PSV Eindhoven, Napoli, Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, AIK Stockholm

Group G: Sporting Lisbon, Basel, Genk, Videoton

Group H: Internazionale, Rubin Kazan, Partizan Belgrade, Nefti PFK

Group I: Lyon, Athletic Bilbao, Sparta Prague, Hapoel Kiryat Shmona

Group J: Tottenham, Panathinaikos, Lazio, Maribor

Group K: Bayer Leverkusen, Metalist Kharkiv, Rosenborg, Rapid Vienna

Group L: Twente Enschede, Hannover 96, Levante, Helsingborg

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