Liverpool and Manchester City walk tall in Europa League
Manchester City and Liverpool are the only British sides to qualify for the group stages of the Europa League after overcoming FC Timisoara and Trabzonspor respectively in their final qualification ties.
Roberto Mancini’s men have been backed into 11/2 from 6/1 to win the tournament after routinely progressing past their Romanian opposition 3-0 on aggregate.
Mario Balotelli’s first goal for City handed them the initiative in Romania and then Shaun Wright-Phillips and Dedryck Boyata found the target in a professional 2-0 triumph in the second leg at Eastlands.
England winger Wright-Phillips finished Patrick Vieira’s cross just before half-time and then Belgian defender Boyata directed in David Silva’s free kick as the hour approached.
Meanwhile, Liverpool are next in the Europa League winners betting at 8/1 after potentially being the favourites of the three English clubs to get knocked out before the group stages.
They faced a tricky away tie in Turkey after only securing a 1-0 victory over Trabzonspor at Anfield.
However, they passed their Turkish test with flying colours as an own goal from Giray Kacar and a Dirk Kuyt tap-in, both in the final six minutes, gave them a 2-1 victory on the night and a 3-1 success on aggregate.
Roy Hodgson picked a strong side, but they fell behind inside four minutes when Teofilo Gutierrez turned in Gustavo Colman’s shot and things could have been worse had Ibrahima Yattara headed on target from close range before the break.
Liverpool have been placed in pot one of the draw alongside the likes of last year’s winners Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Sevilla and FC Porto.
City will be the team that everyone wants to avoid from pot two and they are seeded in the same category as Sampdoria, Besiktas, Anderlecht and Getafe.
CSKA Moscow won the Europa League in 2005 and are 28/1 to do so again this year. See the whole Europa League winners market.