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Liverpool face Chelsea in Champions League

August 25, 2005 21:43 IST

Holders Liverpool will play Premier League champions Chelsea in the group stage of the Champions League in an early repeat of last year's semi-final.

Liverpool were denied the usual "country protection" when UEFA gave them special dispensation to defend their title via the qualifying rounds after not qualifying automatically through their Premier League position.

Anderlecht and Real Betis complete the Group G lineup.

Thursday's draw also produced a repeat of the other 2005 semi-final when AC Milan beat PSV Eindhoven. The two will play Schalke 04 and Fenerbahce in Group E.

Nine-times winners Real Madrid were grouped with Olympique Lyon, Olympiakos Piraeus and Rosenborg Trondheim while Spanish champions Barcelona will be happy to be facing Panathinaikos, Werder Bremen and Udinese.

Bayern Munich and Juventus, both national champions, clash in Group A and will expect to progress together at the expense of Club Bruges and Rapid Vienna.

Manchester United, appearing in the group stage for a record 10th successive year, will play Champions League debutants Villarreal, Lille and Benfica, who United beat in the 1968 European Cup final.

Swiss outsiders Thun face Arsenal, Ajax Amsterdam and Sparta Prague while Artmedia Bratislava, the other long shot in the competition, face Inter Milan, 2004 champions Porto and Rangers.

The first round of the group stage takes place on 13/14 September. The final will be played in Paris on May 17.

Mike Collett
Source: source
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