Reds to face European minnows


Liverpool will be confident of reaching the first knockout round of this season's Europa League after being drawn against either FC Rabotnicki or Mika in the third qualifying round of the competition.

Last season's beaten semi-finalists will start the tie as overwhelming favourites to win even though the first leg of the clash takes place more than three weeks before the start of the Premier League season.

FC Rabotnicki finished second in the Macedonian First League last term and are based in Skopje.

They won their domestic league in 2005, 2006 and 2008 and also secured the Macedonian Cup in 2008 and 2009.

Their best performance in Europe came during the 2006-07 season when they reached the third qualifying round of the Champions League before being beaten by Lille.

This term they thrashed Lusitanos 11-0 on aggregate in the first qualifying round of the Europa League and beat Mika 1-0 at home in Thursday's second qualifying round first leg clash.

Mika are based in Armenia after being founded in 1999 as a result of a merger between Mika FC and Kasakh Ashtarak. They are based in Yerevan and finished second in their domestic league last year.

In nine years of European competition, they have only ever won one tie, an away-goals success against MTK Budapest in the 2007-08 campaign, before they were beaten 3-2 on aggregate by Artmedia Petrzalka in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Cup.

Elsewhere, Hibernian have been drawn against either Videoton or Maribor while Shamrock Rovers will face Juventus if they can edge past Bnei Yehuda.

Motherwell will play Norwegian outfit Aalesund if they can build on their 1-0 first leg success against Breidablik.

The two-legged ties will be played on 29 July and 5 August.

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