Arsenal draw Liverpool in Champions League - European - Football - The Independent

Arsenal draw Liverpool in Champions League

Arsenal have been drawn against Liverpool in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

The Barclays Premier League giants will face each other three times in a week next month, with a top-flight match sandwiched between the two legs.



Manchester United will face Roma - who they have played in the competition already this season and knocked out a year ago - with the second leg at Old Trafford.



Chelsea have the most favourable draw of the English clubs with a trip to Istanbul to face tournament outsiders Fenerbahce, before a second leg at Stamford Bridge.



In the other last-eight tie, Barcelona take on Schalke.



Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry admitted Arsenal were not the team he had hoped to face.

With half the last eight being English teams there was a strong possibility of two meeting each other, and Arsenal and Liverpool were the first two names out of the hat.



Parry told Sky Sports News: "We'd hoped to avoid the English teams at this stage but statistically there were bound to be two coming together and unfortunately it's us.



"We play Arsenal in a league game in between so we'll be playing them three times in a week."



Parry does not expect the two games next month to differ from their league meetings.



"It'll be very similar," he added. "We know them extremely well and they know us.



"The three games are going to very, very tight. I don't think the Champions League is going to be any different, it's tough.



"We've successfully avoided a trip to Turkey (to face Fenerbahce) so that's a bonus."



On the prospect of facing Chelsea in the semi-finals once again, Parry added: "We had noticed.



"Interestingly, the prospect of two English teams in the final in Moscow remains very much alive and that would be interesting to say the least."

Arsenal managing director Keith Edelman acknowledged Liverpool's recent record in the competition, where they have reached the final twice in the past three years, winning in 2005.

"Liverpool are a great team," Edelman told Sky Sports News. "They've obviously had fantastic performances in this competition and we'll play them three times in a week, so we'll get to know them pretty well.



"I think it should make compelling viewing for the fans and I think they'll be very exciting matches."



Arsenal reached the Champions League final in 2006, losing to Barcelona, and Edelman believes their last-16 victory over defending champions AC Milan should give them a lot of encouragement.



"The AC Milan match was very important," added Edelman.



"We played some sublime football and to go and beat them in the San Siro must give us a lot of hope and belief we can go all the way this time."



Manchester United club secretary Ken Ramsden was happy with his side's draw against Roma.

United will play the Italian giants for the fifth and sixth time in less than a year when they meet next month.



"That's a good draw, I think," Ramsden said on Sky Sports News.



"As a fan, I'm glad we're not playing an English team because it loses that flavour of a continental game.



"We're away first, which will please the manager, I'm sure.



"All in all, a good day, I think."



Asked about the prospect of a repeat of last season's 8-3 aggregate thrashing of the Italians, Ramsden said: "It would be nice.



"We have a good record against them so there's no reason why we should be afraid."



He added: "We're playing well but every team in the quarter-finals says the same thing."



After the problems United faced in Rome last season when there were skirmishes between supporters and police, Ramsden believes December's group-phase meeting proved a tie between the sides could pass off largely trouble-free.



"We had a problem two years ago (last season) as is well known, but this year is nowhere near such a problem," he said.



"The fans learned a little bit. I think the Roman authorities learned a lot.



"We'll still do all our work. We'll go next week and do the full recon.



"If the fans follow the advice, they're less likely to have problems."



Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon was "delighted" to have drawn Fenerbahce.

"First and foremost, we managed to avoid another English team," he added.



Kenyon believes Turkey's reputation for fan trouble is a thing of the past.



"I think that's gone," he said. "It's the first time we've ever played Fenerbahce so there's no history between the two clubs and I think everyone will be looking forward to a good quarter-final."



Of Chelsea's opponents, Kenyon said: "You've got to give them a lot of respect.



"There's no such thing as an easy team or an easy game at this level."



The Champions League arguably represents Chelsea's best chance of silverware this season after their Carling Cup and FA Cup disappointments.



Kenyon said: "Some disappointments right the way through but I think we've absolute confidence in the quality of the team and the coaching staff."



He added: "There's a lot of clubs who didn't want to draw Chelsea.



"We're got a real pedigree in Europe."

Fenerbahce vice-president Neset Yalcin backed his side to build on their surprise victory over Sevilla in the last round by upsetting Chelsea.

The tie will see Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka face his former club while ex-Blues forward Mateja Kezman is now at Fenerbahce.



Yalcin told Sky Sports News: "It will be a great atmosphere in London but we're also motivated. Recently we beat Sevilla, we're coming up.



"We know Chelsea haven't been doing well in the Champions League in recent years so I think it's an interesting match-up.



"Chelsea are a very good defensive team. We have to score in Istanbul, that's the key thing."



Visits by English fans to Istanbul have often resulted in trouble, with the nadir in 2000 when two Leeds fans were fatally stabbed.



But Yalcin does not believe Chelsea fans have any reason to worry, saying: "I don't think there will be such problems this time."











Draw for the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the Champions League conducted in Nyon, Switzerland on Friday

Quarter-finals:

Arsenal v Liverpool

Roma v Man Utd

Schalke v Barcelona

Fenerbache v Chelsea



Ties to be played 1/2 and 8/9 of April



Semi-finals:

Arsenal/Liverpool v Fenerbache/Chelsea

Schalke/Barcelona v Roma/Man Utd



Ties to be played 22/23 and 29/30 of April



The home team in the final will be the winner of semi-final number two (Schalke/Barcelona v Roma/Man Utd)



The final will take place on May 21

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