Champions League First Knockout Roud – second leg (First leg: 2-1)
Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard is confident the holders can “spring a surprise” against Liverpool and overhaul the 2-1 deficit.
Away goals by Craig Bellamy and John Arne Riise at Camp Nou have left Liverpool in a strong position position, and Reds manager Rafael Benitez is confident his players will not suffer an adverse reaction to the 1-0 home defeat to Manchester United at the weekend.
“We played well on Saturday and deserved to win but we couldn’t,” said Benítez.
“The positive thing is now we have another competition, another team and another plan,” added the Spaniard, who admits he expects Barcelona to have Samuel Eto’o, Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi featuring in a three-pronged attack.
“Our idea is to try to win. We need to think about this as a new game at Anfield with all our people behind us,” Benítez said. “They have to come here and score twice but I suppose if there is any team in the world who can do that, it’s Barcelona when they are clicking and playing as they can. We know we have enough quality in our team not to think about going for a draw.”
The defending champions need to win by two clear goals or on away goals with a single-goal victory if they score three or more, but Barça boss Rijkaard refused to predict tonight’s outcome.
“I’ve left my crystal ball at home,” he joked.
“But seriously, this is a great opportunity to put things right from the first leg,” he added.
Rijkaard is expected to stick with the 3-4-3 formation he has deployed recently.
“We’ve got a team strong enough to spring a surprise. Maybe we can go into it with the attitude that we don’t have too much to lose.”
Pepe Reina; Steve Finnan, Jamie Carragher, Daniel Agger, Fabio Aurelio; Steven Gerrard, Mohamed Sissoko, Xabi Alonso, John Arne Riise; Dirk Kuyt, Craig Bellamy.
Víictor Valdes; Carles Puyol, Lilian Thuram, Oleguer Presas; Xavi Hernandez, Rafael Marquez, Andres Iniesta, Deco; Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto’o, Lionel Messi.