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Europa League Draw and a Bid Confirmed from Huang

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A few pieces of news the day after Liverpool's 2-0 win at Anfield...

The first of which is tied directly to said win.

The Europa League draw, still firmly placed in the shadow of the Champions League draw, took place this morning, and as it were, Liverpool received a decently difficult opponent. They're paired with Trabzonspor, the Turkish team that finished fifth last season in the Super League and will be making their 2010-2011 Europa League debut. The first leg of the tie is set for Anfield on August 19th, just four days after Liverpool open the Premier League season at home against Arsenal. It does sit up nicely for the Reds in terms of travel---they're home twice in a week before making the short trip to Manchester to face City on the 23rd. They then head to Turkey for the away leg on the 26th, and there's no earthly way they'll face West Brom on the 28th. Unless Ethan Dean-Richards has a say, in which case Liverpool could be in a great deal of trouble.

As the competition moves further along, I usually expect my knowledge of the opposition to increase correspondingly. But I'm left grasping at straws and Google, and other than making weak generalizations about how traveling to Turkey is tough and this will surely be more difficult than the previous two rounds I have little to offer. Oh, Liverpool is 1-0-0 lifetime against Trabzonspor. So, knowledge bomb. Expect a bit more when I have a bit more time to read up. But I think we all know that's an empty promise.

The only other news of the day is that Kenny Huang has finally confirmed that he is indeed a bidder for the club (shock!) and that he's not likely tied to the Chinese government in making the bid. The latter news has to be seen as a disappointment for those looking to capitalize on any number of Communist-related Liverpool jokes (looking at you, Martin). But there's still time, and "highly unlikely" doesn't mean "absolutely not." So don't cancel the order on that custom t-shirt you made with the liverbird in place of the large star on the Chinese flag (and if you're making one, I want it)---it could still be both ironic and topical, which is always a hit when you're trying to make awkward conversation at the party that girl you're trying to hook up with is having. Spoiler: she just got done making out with that guy wearing an Ed Hardy shirt---you're too good for her anyway.

So with Huang confirmed, as mentioned in the link above, that's at least three confirmed bidders, one of whom may or may not be a stooge of George Gillett and has apparently already agreed to all the major terms. Oh. I'm going to leave the theories of conspiracy and espionage to others that are more informed, but I will echo commenters here who previously stated that the less connection with Gillett and Hicks the better. Reports have the sale going through in the next four to six weeks, so looks like we're not through the woods yet. Obviously, and unfortunately, more to come.

Lastly, a bit more news on the Christian Poulsen front---his agent has asserted that the Dane "will be playing as a defensive midfielder at Liverpool" and a deal is expected next week. Opinions are somewhat mixed, I gather, mostly due to his less than gleaming reputation (token compilation of Ben Thatcher emulation here). But according to agiamba over at Juventus Offside, he's been a bit more peaceful in recent seasons, so maybe a parole violation won't block the move. Where he'll fit, we don't know, even if his agent does. But it's another midfielder to add to an already packed position. Cool.

That'll be it for the day---hope you all enjoy the weekend wherever you might be.