Liverpool latest: Rodgers reacts to Champions League draw, defender interest rekindled

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Liverpool's return to the Champions League saw them involved in today's group stage draw, and the Reds have been matched up with Basel, Ludogorets and last season's winners Real Madrid. Manager Brendan Rodgers says that he was looking forward to the draw no matter who they had to play, but is now looking forward to facing Real.

"To be back in it again, no matter who we were going to play, it was always going to be exciting," said Rodgers. "But to have Real Madrid in your group, the champions last season, 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."

Exciting is building over Liverpool's impending Champions League campaign, and chief executive Ian Ayew told of how manager Rodgers has already started planning and researching about their opponents, despite the competition not starting until mid-September.

"When I spoke to Brendan [after the draw], one of the things he said was 'The process starts now' - scouting and analysing them," he said. "We treat everyone the same - we take on every team with the same amount of effort and prepare in the same way. We have a great team that sit behind the team at Liverpool, so we'll be very confident we can get all the best analysis and all the best information on the opposition and then prepare ourselves accordingly."

Meanwhile, new signing Divock Origi may not be playing for the Reds this season having returned to former club Lille on loan for the season, but he's already endeared himself to the Anfield faithful by admitting that he turned down Premier League rivals Tottenham in order to join Liverpool.

"I took a lot of time to sign because, suddenly, there were a lot of clubs interested in me," Origi said having starred for Belgium at the World Cup. "Big Spanish, Italian and German clubs wanted me but my dream was to play in the Premier League. I also went to Tottenham but of the clubs interested, I chose Liverpool."

Rodgers has already landed 10 signings in Javi Manquillo, Dejan Lovren, Alberto Moreno, Kevin Stewart, Emre Can, Adam Lallana, Lazar Markovic, Rickie Lambert and Mario Balotelli, as well as Origi, but an 11th may be on the agenda after speculation linked them with a move to sign River Plate's Colombian centre back Eder Balanta.

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