Quarter-final second leg (First leg: 3-0)
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez insists he is taking nothing for granted, despite his side’s 3-0 advantage secured in their quarter-final first leg tie against PSV Eindhoven a week ago.
Benitez was eager to point out that Liverpool themselves overhauled a three-goal deficit, against Milan in their memorable 2005 Champions League final triumph, so he has been warning his players against the dangers of complacency for the the visit to Anfield of PSV.
“Three goals is a big difference but in Istanbul we were three goals down. We must be focused because PSV have quality and they will try from the beginning,” said Benitez.
The Liverpool coach says his team will adopt a high-tempo approach, adding: “They are ready. If we score the first goal it will be easier but we know from experience, you always have to keep going until the end. Of course I prefer to be in this situation, but it’s strange because we must talk about ‘no complacency’ and being careful of things like this when we are playing the second leg.”
Liverpool have Mohamed Sissoko available after a one-match ban, although the form of Javier Mascherano may keep the Mali midfielder on the bench. Dutch international Dirk Kuyt is absent through suspension and Craig Bellamy is expected to take his place up front. Left-sided attacking full-back Fabio Aurelio, meanwhile, is out for the rest of the reason after rupturing his achilles tendon in Eindhoven and Benítez says resting other players could be an option.
PSV, by contrast are struggling for form, having failed to win in their last six matches. Moreover, the Dutch champions and league leaders will be without several key players at Anfield as Alex, Ibrahim Afellay, Edison Mendez, Jan Kromkamp and Michael Reiziger are all injured. Coach Ronald Koeman has added youth team defenders Rens van Eijden and Olivier ter Horst to his squad, though they are unlikely to play.
Koeman, however, is sanguine about his team’s prospects of staying in the competition.
“It’s not impossible, but let’s be realistic about it,” he said. “Being 3-0 behind against a team like Liverpool means pegging back three goals and it is going to be quite difficult. We are in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and that’s something that we have to be pretty proud of.”
Pepe Reina; Steve Finnan, Jamie Carragher, Daniel Agger, John Arne Riise; Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano, Mark Gonzalez; Craig Bellamy, Peter Crouch.
Heurelho Gomes; Csaba Feher, Manuel Da Costa, Dirk Marcellis, Carlos Salcido; Mika Vayrynen, Timmy Simons, Phillip Cocu, Jason Culina; Arouna Kone, Jefferson Farfan.