While the Europa League may not be as prestigious as the Champions League, the competition offers a chance of Champions League qualification and silverware. It's quite difficult to sniff at, especially considering that Brendan Rodgers' record in Europe has been underwhelming. The draw in Monaco would probably dictate whether Brendan Rodgers could shuffle his pack for European games.
Liverpool were drawn in Group B alongside Rubin Kazan of Russia, FC Girondins de Bordeaux of France, and FC Sion of Switzerland. Only one taxing away trip in a group that should enable safe passage to the knockout stages with an organised and tactically sensible approach to travels around Europe.
Rubin Kazan knocked out Wigan Athletic in the last qualifying stage of the Europa League in 2013/14 and boast former Everton attacking midfielder Diniyar Bilyaletdinov. Bilyaletdinov's father, Rinat, has been the head coach of the Tatar club since January 2014. For those who are curious, Kazan is known as an avid hockey city.
Bordeaux finished sixth in Ligue 1 under the guidance of former France international right back Willy Sagnol, a relative novice at managerial level. Tiago Ilori was sent on loan to the French club last season for his development. A UEFA Cup final appearance gives the six-time winners of Ligue 1 second spot in Group B in terms of European history.
FC Sion, founded in 1909, complete the group. The Swiss club is managed by another retired French footballer in Didier Tholot, but the FC Sion manager didn't feature for the French national team Tholot also played for Bordeaux for two seasons and featured in the 1996 UEFA Cup final. Sion's record in Europe has been littered with a succession of early exits so qualification would be a tremendous achievement for the Swiss club.
Elsewhere, Tottenham face Qarabag of Azerbaijan, Anderlecht of Belgium, and Monaco of France in Group J. Group A provides Celtic with Ajax of the Netherlands, Fenerbahçe S.K. of Turkey, and Molde FK of Norway as opponents.