Europa League Draw: Chelsea Draw Sparta Prague, Liverpool Face Zenit
All of the attention on Thursday morning in the world of football was given to the draw for the UEFA , and rightfully so.
However, there was another draw held on Thursday that provided plenty of intrigue.
The draw for the UEFA Europa League round of 32 was held after the more prestigious draw concluded.
In the Europa League, there are four English clubs vying to call themselves champions of that tournament.
The most noteworthy of those teams has to be Chelsea, who qualified for this round by finishing third in their Champions League group.
The draw consisted of the 12 group stage winners, 12 group stage runners-up from the Europa League and the eight third-place finishers from the Champions League group stage.
Chelsea were drawn against Sparta Prague, who finished second in the Europa League's Group I behind French powerhouse Lyon.
The first leg of the matchup between Rafa Benitez's Blues and their Czech opponents will take place on February 14 in Prague; the two clubs will meet seven days later at Stamford Bridge.
Which EPL Club Faces the Toughest Draw?
Tottenham's Hugo Lloris will get to return to his old stomping grounds, the Stade de Gerland in Lyon, during the second leg of his club's round of 32 tie.
Spurs were drawn against seven-time French champions Lyon and will face the winner of the Inter Milan-Cluj tie in the round of 16.
Newcastle and Liverpool are both headed to Eastern Europe for their round of 32 clashes with Metalist Kharkiv and Zenit St. Petersburg.
The Magpies will host Metalist at St. James' Park on February 14 before making the trek to the Ukraine for the second leg a week later.
If Alan Pardew's club advance to the round of 16, they will face the winner of the Anzhi Makhachkala-Hannover tie.
Liverpool were given the most difficult draw of all the English clubs involved in the round of 32 as they will face the 2008 winners of the competition, Zenit St. Petersburg.
The first leg of their matchup will be played on a cold winter night at the Petrovsky Stadium on February 14.
Brendan Rodgers' club will then host the Russian champions at Anfield a week later.
As for the Reds' potential round of 16 opponents, it will be either FC Basel or Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk.
Here is the draw for the round of 32 and round of 16.
Round of 32
Inter Milan vs. CFR Cluj
Levante vs. Olympiakos
Zenit St. Petersburg vs. Liverpool
Dynamo Kiev vs. Bordeaux
Bayer Leverkeusen vs. Benfica
Newcastle United vs. Metalist Kharkiv
Stuttgart vs. Genk
Atletico Madrid vs. Rubin Kazan
Ajax vs, Steaua Bucharest
FC Basel vs. Dnipro
Anzhi Makhachkala vs. Hannover
Sparta Prague vs. Chelsea
Tottenham vs. Lyon
Napoli vs. Viktoria Plzen
Round of 16
Napoli vs.Viktoria Plzen winner vs. BATE Borisov vs. Fenerbahce winner
Dynamo Kiev vs. Bordeaux winner vs. Bayer Leverkeusen vs. Benfica winner
Newcastle United vs. Metalist Kharkiv winner vs. Anzhi Makhachkala vs. Hannover winner
Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Lazio winner vs. Stuttgart vs. Genk winner
Inter Milan vs. CFR Cluj winner vs. Tottenham vs. Lyon winner
Atletico Madrid vs. Rubin Kazan winner vs. Levante vs. Olympiakos winner
Zenit St. Petersburg vs. Liverpool winner vs. FC Basel vs. Dnipro winner
Sparta Prague vs. Chelsea winner vs. Ajax vs. Steaua Bucharest winner
What do you think of the Europa League draw?
Comment below or leave me a comment on Twitter @JTansey90.
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