Rafael Benitez says he is happy Liverpool have avoided an Italian team after being drawn to play Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League.

The encounter gives Liverpool a chance for revenge as they were knocked out of the competition by the Leverkusen at the quarter-final stage in 2002.

The Liverpool manager was pleased to have avoided a date with an Italian team.

“Considering the other possibilities we faced, it’s not the worst draw for us, although they are a good team,” Benitez said.

“It’s better to face a German team and not an Italian one. The Italian teams are more difficult to play against.

“The only bad thing is we play the first game at home and I prefer to play away first if possible.”