Champions League draw: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City learn group stage fate
Chelsea escape with easiest group whilst Liverpool are paired with Real Madrid
The draw for the group stage of the Champions League has taken place, with the four English teams - Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City - being handed tough matches but not being entered into any 'groups of death'.
With the likes of PSG and Borussia Dortmund among the second seeds and Roma and Monaco among the fourth, there were fears that terribly tough looking groups could lie in wait.
Liverpool, on their return to the Champions League for the first time since 2009/10, will face reigning champions Real Madrid in perhaps the pick of the ties in the group stage. Despite drawing the strongest team in the competition, Brendan Rodgers will be hopeful of progressing having also been paired with Basel and Ludogorets Razgrad. Liverpool will also point to the fact they beat the Spanish side 5-0 on aggregate last time they met.
Arsenal will take on German giants Borussia Dortmund - one of the hardest teams they could have been drawn against from Pot 2. The sides met at this stage of the competition last year with the teams beating each other on the others home ground. Arsenal will also play Galatasaray and Anderlecht.
Manchester City will feel unlucky to have been paired with Roma. The Serie A side were among the teams in Pot 4, despite being rated much above that. It also means a quick return to England for former Chelsea defender Ashley Cole. Manuel Pellegrini's side also face German champions Bayern Munich in what will be a great test of their credentials. The other side in their group is CSKA Moscow.
Chelsea have arguably the easiest draw. Jose Mourinho's side, among the favourites for the competition, have been paired with Schalke 04, Sporting Lisbon and Maribor.
Barcelona and Paris St Germain should dominate Group F, where they were drawn with Ajax and APOEL from Cyprus, while last season's beaten finalists Atletico Madrid are in Group A with Juventus, Olympiacos and Malmo.
Benfica, Zenit St Petersburg, Bayer Leverkusen and Monaco make up Group C while in Group H Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Athletic Bilbao and Belarus side BATE Borisov will battle it out.
Liverpool's opponents Ludogorets enjoyed a charmed passage to the group stage after the most unlikely of wins over Romanian champions Steaua Bucharest in the play-off.
Defender Cosmin Moti went in goal after keeper Vladislav Stoyanov was sent off and saved two shoot-out penalties to send his club into the group stage for the first time.
The 29-year-old even scored the first spot-kick himself, while still wearing his gloves, before going in goal to provide more heroics.
Ludogorets had been trailing Steaua 1-0 from the first leg but forced extra-time thanks to a stunning last-minute volley from substitute Wanderson.
Group A: Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Olympiacos, Malmo FF
Group B: Real Madrid, Basel, LIVERPOOL, Ludogorets Razgrad
Group C: Benfica, Zenit Saint Petersburg, Bayer Leverkusen, Monaco
Group D: ARSENAL, Borussia Dortmund, Galatasaray, Anderlecht
Group E: Bayern Munich, MANCHESTER CITY, CSKA Moscow, Roma
Group F: Barcelona, PSG, Ajax, APOEL
Group G: CHELSEA, Schalke 04, Sporting Lisbon, Maribor
Group H: Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Athletic Bilbao, BATE Borisov
Latest in Sport
Wimbledon 2015: Kei Nishikori struggles to five-set win over Simone Bolelli
Wimbledon 2015: Andy Murray tests himself with practice games against Rafael Nadal
Paulinho leaves Tottenham: Former Spurs midfielder agrees £9.8m transfer to Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande
Arsenal sign Petr Cech: Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott, Hector Bellerin, Aaron Ramsey - and even Wojciech Szczesny welcome goalkeeper
Copa America 2015: When does it start, what channel is it on and who should I support?
- 1 Michael Douglas regrets 'embarrassing' Catherine Zeta-Jones with oral sex comments
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 Tunisian builder has been hailed a hero after knocking gunman to the ground with roof tiles
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 E.L James's #AskELJames Twitter Q&A didn't go exactly as planned
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Extend Right To Buy to tenants of private landlords, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn says
David Cameron struck double blow in his hopes to win Britain a new EU deal
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato