Champions League: Liverpool cut after soft group draw

Three of the four Premier League clubs in this season's Champions League are favourites to win their sections following the group-stage draw in Monaco.

Manchester City head the outright market at 7-2 and are 1-6 with  bet365 to top Group C, which features Shakhtar Donetsk, Dinamo Zagreb and Atalanta.

Liverpool have been cut to 7-1 to retain their title with Betfred and can be backed at 4-7 to finish top of the pile above Napoli, Salzburg and Genk.

Last season's runners-up Tottenham are 6-4 to beat 4-7 shots Bayern Munich to first place in Group B, which is completed by Olympiakos and Red Star Belgrade, while Europa League holders Chelsea are out to 33-1 to win the competition following the draw.

Frank Lampard's first taste of Champions League football as manager will see his Chelsea side take on Ajax, Valencia and Lille. They are nonetheless 8-11 frontrunners to win the group.

Premier League clubs enjoyed great success on the continent last term and all four managed to avoid the group of death comprising Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan and Slavia Prague.

The Catalan giants are  4-11 to win Group F, with Dortmund 7-2, Inter 11-2 and the Czech minnows 150-1.

Elsewhere, Germans Leipzig are 2-1 favourites to finish top of their group, despite being seeded fourth, above Lyon (9-4), Benfica (9-4) and top seeds Zenit (5-1).

Juventus are in Group D with Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen and Lokomotiv Moscow, while Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid will lock horns with Paris Saint-Germain, Galatasaray and Club Brugge in Group A.

The first set of group-stage matches take place on September 17 and 18.

Although the English clubs should be relatively happy with who they will face in the group stage, Leipzig are undoubtedly the winners of the draw.

The Germans faced an uphill task having been placed in pot four but they could have scarcely asked for a better draw. Zenit are a fading force, Benfica have a horrendous record in this competition and that could leave them battling it out with Lyon for top spot.

They could be a value bet to top their group at 2-1 and it's easy to see why they have been trimmed to 66-1 from 100-1 in the outright market.

Their Bundesliga counterparts Borussia Dortmund are no strangers to tough draws and they could represent value in Group F. Inter allowed qualification to the knockout phase to slip through their fingers last season, while Slavia Prague are minnows on this stage.

Lucien Favre is working wonders with Die Schwarzgelben and 7-2 to pip a Barca team in transition to the post may tempt some.

It's a favourable draw for English clubs all round and punters should take a look at bets on all four to progress to the last 16.

Champions League groups

Group A: PSG; Real Madrid; Club Brugge; Galatasaray.

Group B: Bayern Munich; Tottenham; Olympiakos; Red Star Belgrade.

Group C: Manchester City; Shakhtar Donetsk; Dinamo Zagreb; Atalanta.

Group D: Juventus; Atletico Madrid; Bayer Leverkusen; Lokomotiv Moscow.

Group E: Liverpool; Napoli; Salzburg; Genk.

Group F: Barcelona; Borussia Dortmund; Inter; Slavia Prague.

Group G: Zenit; Benfica; Lyon; Leipzig.

Group H: Chelsea; Ajax; Valencia; Lille.



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