Looking to make it to the quarter-finals of a major European club competition for the first time in their history, Rudi Garcia's LOSC Lille Métropole are sure to be tough opponents for Liverpool FC in their UEFA Europa League round of 16 opener.
• The two sides had never met in a competitive game before this season.
• Lille's eight meetings with English sides have earned them the record W2 D3 L3 (W1 D2 L1 at home). Six of those matches have been against Liverpool's north-west rivals Manchester United FC, with Les Dogues earning a win, two draws and three defeats against the Red Devils in a series of close-fought encounters which averaged a single goal per game.
• Liverpool's record in 24 encounters with French clubs reads W14 D2 L8 (W5 D1 L6 in France). They are unbeaten in their last five contests in France, winning four of them and drawing the last 1-1 with Olympique Lyonnais in this season's UEFA Champions League group stage.
• Lille have lost just one of their last 16 European home fixtures, a 1-0 defeat by United at the ground of their neighbours RC Lens in the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League first knockout round. They have won five of their six European home games this season.
• A 2-0 loss at ACF Fiorentina in this season's UEFA Champions League group stage represented Liverpool's only defeat in their last ten European away trips.
• Lille goalkeeper Ludovic Butelle joined Valencia CF from FC Metz in July 2004, a month after Rafael Benítez had left the club to take over as Liverpool manager.
• Butelle and Liverpool defender Fábio Aurélio were team-mates at Valencia from 2004 to 2006.
• Lille midfielder Rio Mavuba and his Liverpool counterpart Albert Riera played together at FC Girondins de Bordeaux from 2003 to 2005.
• Lille's Cameroonian midfielder Aurélien Chedjou and Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina were contemporaries at Villarreal CF in the 2002/03 campaign, though the former – then a youth player – did not see any first-team action.
• Liverpool's David Ngog and Lille's Pierre-Alain Frau were attacking team-mates at Paris Saint-Germain FC in the 2006/07 season.
• Ten of Lille's 17 goals since the start of the UEFA Europa League group stage have been scored between the 76th minute and the final whistle.
• The next goal Lille concede will be the 50th they have shipped in Europe, with this first leg against Liverpool representing their 67th UEFA club competition game.
• The tie concludes at Anfield on 18 March. The draw for the quarter-finals will be staged the following day.
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