Liverpool face long journey

Liverpool have discovered their fate in the draw for the the Europa League 3rd Qualifying Round, in which they will face either FK Renova of Macedonia or FC Gomel of Belarus.

The latter currently looks more likely following Gomel’s 2-0 victory away from home in the first leg of their 2nd Round clash.

The prospect of a journey deep into Eastern Europe for the away leg on the 2nd August will leave players and fans alike envious of Tottenham’s good luck in the draw for their Europa League Playoff last year. Spurs were handed an away tie in Edinburgh against Heart of Midlothian, a stone’s throw away compared to the potential 2800 mile round trip Liverpool face if the Belarusians can maintain their advantage in the second leg, to be played on Thursday.

Whichever side they face, a Liverpool victory will be considered a formality, with the top players of either potential opponent earning weekly wages in the hundreds of pounds rather than hundreds of thousands of pounds, but new manager Brendan Rodgers will be eager not to let complacency become an issue in his first competitive games in charge.

Should they progress, Liverpool will be desperate for a more geographically favourable draw for the final Qualification Playoff, the second leg of which is scheduled to be played on the 23rd August, just three days before Liverpool’s first home Premier League game of the season against champions Manchester City.

Rodgers has urged his side not to “moan and groan” about the draw they have been given, and to remain focussed on progressing to the Europa League proper.

However, should Liverpool reach the Group Stage, the headaches caused by the weekly inconvenience of Thursday trips to the furthest reaches of the continent could outweigh any pride taken from competing in European competition, with Rodgers’ priority undoubtedly to improve upon the league form that last year saw Liverpool finish in 8th place- their lowest position in 18 years.