Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers attends Milk Cup draw

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Brendan Rodgers

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers and player Raheem Sterling have made the draw for the 2013 Milk Cup competition.

The Anfield club will return to compete in the youth tournament this summer as they make a double bid for glory in the Premier and Junior sections.

Mexico will defend the Elite title they won last year and junior champions Brentford will also compete again.

The dates, kick-off times and venues for the individual matches will be finalised in the next few weeks.

Mexico won the Elite crown last year by beating Denmark while Brentford were impressive 5-0 winners over five-time Junior champions Everton.

Northern Ireland, two-time champions USA and 2011 winners Denmark will join Mexico in the Elite section.

The opening parade will take place on Sunday 28 July, with the finals night at Ballymena Showgrounds on Friday 2 August.

Among the new teams competing this year will be Junior outfit Barcelona Sporting de Ecuador from Ecuador, while a qualifying competition is being used to decide the Chilean entrants in the same section.

Liverpool manager Rodgers, from Carnlough in County Antrim, played in the international youth tournament three times for Ballymena in the 1980s.

"As a footballer, playing in the Milk Cup is one of the best experience you'll ever have in your life," said Rodgers.

"It's about enjoyment and experience and that is what youth football is all about.

"It's a wonderful tournament, is still going strong after 21 years and I'm proud to be associated with it."

The event will again be covered extensively on BBC Sport NI.

NI Milk Cup 2013 Draw


GROUP ONE - Plymouth Argyle, Strikers FC, Japan FA, Co. Fermanagh

GROUP TWO - Brentford FC, Barcelona Sporting de Ecuador, Co. Londonderry, Co Antrim

GROUP THREE - Watford FC, Colina (Chile), North Dublin SL, Co. Down

GROUP FOUR - Southampton, Liverpool FC, Cavan & Monaghan League, Co. Tyrone

GROUP FIVE - Swindon Town, Everton FC, Dundalk SL, Co. Armagh


GROUP ONE - Vendee FC, Cruz Azul, Cherry Orchard, Co. Down

GROUP TWO - Otago, Club America de Mexico, Co. Tyrone, Co. Fermanagh

GROUP THREE - CSKA Moscow, SC Corinthians, Bohemians FC, Co. L'derry

GROUP FOUR - Newcastle Utd, O'Higgins FC (Chile), Liverpool FC, Co. Armagh

GROUP FIVE - TUS Altenberge, Strikers FC, Manchester Utd, Co. Antrim

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