Everton’s manager David Moyes will have been delighted to have avoided the chance of a clash with Liverpool in the Champions League 3rd qualifying round. Moyes was moaning about the chance of having to play the Reds in the competition and got his wish when the draw pitted them against Villareal of Spain. No doubt now the blues will be hoping that they can build some bridges with officials at Anfield in order to get some advice on the countrymen of Rafa Benitez, Luis Garcia, Jose Reina et al. Villareal finished third behind Real Madrid and Barcelona in last season’s Spanish league. Perhaps they would have preferred to play Liverpool after all.
Liverpool have been given a draw against either Tirana or CSKA Sofia – as long as they complete the job against Kaunas. Liverpool are 3-1 up from the first leg, so with the away goals rule would need to concede three without reply to be eliminated. Reds Chief Executive Rick Parry was pleased not to be drawn against the blues, saying: "The main thing was avoiding Everton so that’s fine. Clearly when we were not given country protection conspiracy theorists thought it was going to happen. Neither side would have relished it."
Parry says the Reds will concentrate on the current tie first though: "We’ve still got a job to do against Kaunas and we’ll start thinking about the third round after Tuesday. We will gather information and we are taking each game as it comes, we are professional – we are used to it. We treat everyone with respect but not fear."
The draw in full for the Champions League third qualifying round:
Basle 1893 v Werder Bremen
Celtic or Artmedia Bratislava v Partizan Belgrade or FC Sheriff
Shakhtar Donetsk v Inter Milan
Steaua Bucharest or Shelbourne v Rosenborg
Manchester United v Hajduk Split or Debrecen
Malmo or Maccabi Haifa v Dynamo Kiev or FC Thun
Everton v Villarreal
Liverpool or Kaunas v CSKA Sofia or Tirana
Sporting Lisbon v Udinese
Valerenga or FC Haka v Club Brugges
Rapid Vienna or F91 Dudelange v Lokomotiv Moscow or Rabotnicki Kometal
Anderlecht or Neftchi v Slavia Prague
Trabzonspor or Anorthosis Famagusta v Rangers
Brondby or Dynamo Tbilisi v Ajax
Real Betis v Monaco
Wisla Krakow v Panathinaikos