Group B: Real Madrid CF, FC Basel 1893, Liverpool FC, PFC Ludogorets Razgrad
• Basel knocked Liverpool out of the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League in the first group stage, drawing 1-1 at Anfield before letting slip a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 back in Switzerland – yet still progressing at the English side's expense.
• Liverpool are in the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 2008/09 when they reached the quarter-finals. The Reds are one of five teams in the group stage who did not play in European competition at all last season.
• Basel beat Ludogorets – who are one of two group stage debutants, along with Swedish champions Malmö FF – 6-2 on aggregate in the 2013/14 play-offs.
• Matchday three will mark a repeat of the 1981 European Champion Clubs' Cup final between Liverpool and Real Madrid. Alan Kennedy scored the only goal for the English side at the Parc des Princes.
• Liverpool also prevailed in both legs of the teams' meeting in the 2008/09 last 16. They won 1-0 in Madrid before a 4-0 home success – Madrid's biggest defeat in European competition.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Madrid forward
Liverpool were very near to winning the Premier League last season. We know it will be a very tough game there and it's going to be hard overall. In general the group is nice, it's a good draw for Real Madrid. The Champions League is a very tough competition to win, but we're going to try to do it again – we always have to do that at Real Madrid.
Emilio Butragueño, Madrid director
Liverpool are a historic club in this great competition. They are a great club and they have a stadium which is one of the cathedrals of football, so at Anfield they are especially strong. The support of their fans is extraordinary and they will be very dangerous opponents. Basel have progressed a lot and we are going to Bulgaria for the first time in many years. It's an additional challenge for our players to be able to break this tradition of the holders not being able to retain the trophy.
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) August 28, 2014
Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool manager
Initially, we're excited. That was last season's hard work, what we were working towards: getting Liverpool back into a competition where we are synonymous. To be back in it, no matter who we were going to play, was always going to be exciting. But to have Real Madrid in your group, the champions, is going to be special. I'm already thinking of Anfield on that night. But there are two other good teams in it along with us. It's a tough group, but we'll really look forward to the challenge of getting out of the group.
The notion for us was to get out of the group stage – we can look no further than that. It was great excitement and hopefully it was great for the supporters to sit and watch the draw for the first time in five years. Now we know the teams that we're playing, we'll focus to get out of the group. That's as far as you can look. Once you get out of the group, you take it from there. Preparation will start straight away. Some of the teams we're well aware of; we watch the likes of Real Madrid nearly every week. We have our analysis team behind the scenes who will do all the preparation work we need. It will be exciting for them as well.
I'll be very proud but more proud for the players and the supporters, for what they have put into us arriving there. They will be critical and they are going to be key for us throughout the Champions League campaign. The nights at Anfield are really special. To see that flag back out in the middle of the pitch and for the supporters to get behind their team like they do is going to be an amazing experience.
— Daniel Sturridge (@D_Sturridge) August 28, 2014
Luca Zuffi, Basel midfielder
For me, this is fantastic – a dream come true. Real Madrid and Liverpool are two big clubs. When you get the chance to play in those stadiums, there is nothing that beats it. We'll give it our all in this group and see how far that gets us.
Davide Calla, Basel midfielder
This is a dream of a group. On paper it seems difficult, but in the end every match has to be played first. Right now, what comes to mind is the opportunity to play in these stadiums, and I just hope I'll experience it. It will be the highlight of my career.
Georgi Dermendzhiev, Ludogorets coach
I am happy with the draw. It will be great to see European champions Real Madrid in Sofia. Liverpool are another giant. We played Basel last season. I hope we will earn points. I am still undecided who will be my goalkeeper for the first game – Cosmin Moți or Ivan Čvorović as Vlado Stoyanov will be suspended. It is tough company, no doubt about it. We have already achieved a lot, but we must forget the Steaua game. It is in the past; now we are looking forward to the group stage.
Angel Petrichev, Ludogorets executive director
I am extremely happy to welcome the reigning European champions to Bulgaria. We promised that Ludogorets would bring Europe's finest to Bulgaria and that promise is a reality. There's nothing more we could say about Real. Liverpool are another European giant. We played Basel last season, so we know them well. All the games will be at the highest possible level – we should play for pride and our country.
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