United and Celtic drawn together

Holders Manchester United were drawn with Scottish champions Celtic, Spain's Villarreal and Denmark's Aalborg in Thursday's draw in Monaco for this season's UEFA Champions League group phase.

United, who also won the English Premier League title, were drawn in Group E while Chelsea will meet AS Roma, Bordeaux of France and Romanian debutants Cluj in Group A.

Adding to the flavour of home-and-away 'Battle of Britain' clashes will be the fact that Celtic are coached by Gordon Strachan, who was a player under United boss Sir Alex Ferguson both at Old Trafford and Aberdeen beforehand.

The clubs also met in the Champions League group stages two seasons ago. Celtic edged their home game 1-0 and United won theirs 3-2.

Liverpool, who snuck into the pool phase with a 1-0 win over Belgium's Standard Liege on Wednesday, will take on Spain's Atletico Madrid, who looked sharp in knocking out Germany's Schalke, as well as Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven and also Marseille of France, whom they met last year, in Group D.

Rafa Benitez's side have made a slow start to the seaons but have won their opening two Premiership fixtures despite not clicking into top gear.

But they will be mindful of their Anfield meeting against Marseille last year when the French won 1-0 only to lose the return at the Velodrome as Benitez and company swept them aside 4-0.

Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry told the BBC: "There are no easy games - you just take it as it comes. We are just delighted to be in it."

England's other participants, 2006 finalists Arsenal, will face a trip to Fenerbahce in Turkey, to Portugal to meet Porto and Dynamo Kiev of Ukraine in Group G.

In Group B, Italian champions Inter Milan will take on seasoned German campaigners Werder Bremen, Greek side Panathinaikos and Cypriots Anorthosis.

Barcelona, champions in 1992 and 2006, will meet Portugal's Sporting Lisbon, FC Basel of Switzerland and Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine in Group C.

In Group F, serial French champions Lyon, who have yet to make a major impression in Europe despite their domestic dominance, will meet German counterparts Bayern Munich, Italy's Fiorentina and Romania's Steaua Bucharest.

Finally, in Group H, record nine-times winners Real Madrid, who have flopped badly since their last success in 2002, must face Juventus, winners in 1985 and 1996, UEFA Cup holders Zenit St Petersburg and Bate Borisov of Belarus.

Ahead of the draw, Chelsea's Petr Cech was earlier voted top goalkeeper of last season's competition while skipper John Terry won the defenders accolade and Frank Lampard was named UEFA midfielder of the year to complete a club treble.

Cristiano Ronaldo got the vote as top striker after his 42-goal season haul. The first set of matches will be played on 16/17 September.