MONACO - Manchester City are wary of the threat posed by Champions League Group A rivals Shakhtar Donetsk after being tested by the Ukrainian side in last season's competition, the Premier League club's director of football Txiki Begiristain has said.
The teams were drawn in the same pool during last season's Champions League with Pep Guardiola's side earning a hard-fought 2-0 home win over Shakhtar in September before the Ukaranian side handed City their first defeat of the season in December. The clubs grabbed the top two spots in their group to progress to knockout stages with Shakhtar reaching the last-16 and City ousted by Liverpool in the quarter-finals.
"We know Shakhtar and we are back against them. We had some difficulties trying to beat them at home last season, so we have to remind ourselves how difficult it is going to be," Begiristain told City's website.
"The Champions League is very important every season. We want to be stronger in Europe and we want to have the opportunity to fight for this... We are getting close but we want to be closer than last season and we want to be there."
Meanwhile, Liverpool are looking forward to facing off against Paris St Germain and Napoli in the group stage of the Champions League, with manager Juergen Klopp anticipating a tough run in the tournament.
The Merseyside outfit were drawn in Group C alongside French champions PSG, Italy's Napoli and Serbia's 1991 European Cup winners Red Star Belgrade, who qualified for the group stage for the first time, and Klopp is relishing the challenge.
The German boss believes Liverpool's Brazilian trio of Alisson, Roberto Firmino and Fabinho will particularly enjoy facing PSG as they battle against international team mate Neymar.
"Facing Neymar will be, for our Brazilian guys, like meeting a friend again and all that stuff. It's a big challenge, but for all the others it is a big challenge to face us," Klopp told Liverpool's official website. "Napoli, we beat them in pre-season but it goes without saying these two games will be completely a different challenge."
Manchester City will travel to Shakhtar on October 23 and host the Ukrainian side at the Etihad on November 7. Liverpool open their Champions League campaign at home to PSG on September 18, but will turn their immediate attention to Saturday's Premier League trip to Leicester City.Reuters