Liverpool handed tricky Champions League tie; Celtic off to Kazakhstan

Date published: Friday 4th August 2017 11:17

Liverpool will play German side Hoffeinheim over two legs in the Champions league play-off later this month.

It will be a chance for Roberto Firmino to come up against his former club as the pair do battle for a place in the Champions League proper.

Celtic will face FC Astana of Kazakhstan.

Liverpool are competing in European football’s premier competition for only the second time in eight seasons after finishing fourth in the Premier League last term.

Jurge n Klopp will know Hoffenheim well from his time coaching in Germany, but the Bundesliga club will present a difficult obstacle as Liverpool look to reach the Champions League group stage.

Coached by 30-year-old Julian Nagelsmann – the youngest manager in Europe’s top five leagues – Hoffenheim finished fourth in the Bundesliga last season.

Hoffenheim had the second-best defensive record in the division and only champions Bayern Munich suffered fewer defeats.

Celtic’s reward for their third qualifying round victory over Rosenborg of Norway is to once again make the near 8,000-mile round trip to Kazakhstan.

Brendan Rodgers’ side played Astana in the Champions League last season, drawing 1-1 in Kazakhstan before winning the Parkhead return 2-1.

The first legs will be played on 15/16 August, with the returns taking place on 22/23 August.

Assuming Liverpool progress they will be one of 10  play-off winners who will join 22 automatic entrants in the group stage. The draw for which will be made in Monaco on Thursday, August 24.

The 10 losers will transfer to the UEFA Europa League group stage.

Full draw:

Qarabag v Copenhagen

APOEL v Slavia Prague

Olympiacos v Rijeka

Celtic v Astana

H. Beer-Sheva v Maribor

Young Boys v CSKA Moscow

Istanbul Basaksehir v Sevilla

Napoli v Nice

Hoffeinheim v Liverpool

Sporting Cp v FCSB

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