By 90Min
August 31, 2019

Liverpool have been drawn into Group E in this season's Champions League and face home and away ties with Red Bull Salzburg, Napoli and Genk as they look to progress to the knockout stages. 

If you’re not overly familiar with the clubs, here’s a rundown of all the background information you need on the defending champion's opponents this season...


RB Salzburg (AUS)


How They Qualified - As reigning champions of the Austrian Bundesliga, Salzburg automatically qualified for the Champions League group stages for the first time. They had previously been obliged to navigate the qualification rounds, but this year they went straight into the pot with the big boys. 

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A Brief History - Originally founded in 1933, the club controversially reformed and were re-branded as Red Bull Salzburg back in 2005. They are currently enjoying a golden era of success, winning their domestic league in eight of the last nine seasons.


European Pedigree -  Their European participation has been largely confined to the Europa League in recent years. However, they do have some pedigree in that tournament, reaching the semi finals in 2018 and the final back in 1994, losing to Inter 2-0 on aggregate in the old UEFA Cup format. This is their first appearance in the Champions League group stage since 1994/95.

Past Meetings - None!

Any Other Business? - Two of Liverpool's stellar first team members have routes in Salzburg. Naby Keita and Sadio Mane spent some of their formative years in the picturesque Austrian city, so both should have an idea what to expect.


Genk (BEL)


How They Qualified - Genk secured their fourth Belgian title last season, which was sufficient enough to land them a place in the group stages. However, they had to see off a stern challenge from Club Brugge in the slightly quirky Belgian Championship play-offs system, just about pipping their domestic rivals to the title by a two point margin.

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A Brief History - FC Waterschei S.V Thor Genk merged with KFC Winterslag to form Racing Club Genk back in 1988. Despite being a relatively new club, competing with Belgian heavyweights Anderlecht, Club Brugge and Standard Liege has not been too daunting for Genk. They have managed four league titles and four domestic cup wins in their 31-year history. Not too shabby!

European Pedigree - This will be Genk's third appearance in the Champions League group stages. Their most recent foray came in 2012, when they enjoyed high profile clashes with Chelsea, Bayer Leverkusen and Valencia. They also reached the quarter finals of the Europa League in 2017.

Past Meetings - Zilch! Genk represent another new opponent for Liverpool in Europe. 


Any Other Business - Genk played a small but not insignificant hand in Liverpool's Champions League success last season. Reds cult hero Divock Origi spent nine years at Genk's academy before being picked up by Lille in 2010. So, in a way, Liverpool owe the Belgians big time. Small world! 


   S.S.C Napoli (ITA)


How They Qualified – Napoli finished as runners-up to Juventus in 2018/19's Serie A, with a more than respectable points haul of 79. To complete the trend of Group E, they too went straight into the pot with automatic Champions League qualification. 

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A Brief History - The Naples based side boast a proud and fierce fan base. They have become a household name in recent years, despite only winning two domestic cups since their last league title in 1990. Managed by legendary Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti, Napoli have established themselves as one of the best clubs in Italy, although they have been unable to supplant the recent dominance of Juventus.


European Pedigree - They are enjoying a fourth successive season in the Champions League group stages, although they have only made it past this round once. Back in their glory days of the late 1980s with a certain Diego Armando Maradona leading the line, they were UEFA Cup winners, which remains their one major honour in European football. 


Past Meetings - Liverpool have met Napoli four times in European competition, winning just one of those clashes. They locked horns twice in Group C last season, Napoli winning 1-0 in Italy before Liverpool edged the return clash in a tense 1-0 win at Anfield to secure their safe passage to the knockout stages.


Any Other Business? -  Poland international midfielder Piotr Zieliński has become an established member of this Gli Azzurri side. He was rumoured to be a long-term target for Liverpool and Reds manager Jurgen Klopp will be given another couple of chances to take a closer look at the 25-year-old as his side looks to improve on their below-par record against Napoli.

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