After spending much of the 2010-11 Europa League Campaign trekking through Eastern Europe and starting off the 2012-13 edition with a trip to Belarus, it's almost shocking to see Liverpool paired up with a far more neighbourly opponent for the final qualifying round. Still, rather than heading to Georgia, Montenegro, or Moldova this time around, the Reds will be making the comparatively short trip north to Gorgie, Scotland to take on Hearts of the Scottish Premier League.
With clubs like Inter Milan, Marseille, Sporting CP, PSV Eindhoven, and CSKA Moscow all seeded as was Liverpool, there were few possible pairings that on paper at least wouldn't seem to make them heavy favourites. Last season's fifth-place side from the SPL, however, would have been considered by many the best of all possible draws alongside fellow Scots Motherwell due to their close proximity.
If Liverpool does make it through to the group stages, travel to the far corners of Europe once again seems inevitable, but for the time being at least it's a nice break for both the club and fans to only have to head a little ways north for the first leg on August 23rd before two sides face off at Anfield the following Thursday.