Kick-off: 19:45 (BST)
Liverpool face an intimidating atmosphere at the Stade Velodrome tonight, according to Marseille coach Erik Gerets.
Victory for either side would guarantee qualification, and Gerets is confident that his team will prevail.
The hosts also know that a draw will suffice unless Group A basement club Besiktas can win at Porto, but the Belgian coach does not expect his team to hold back.
“We won’t set out looking for a draw,” said Gerets. “Our preparations have been normal but, from the first second on Tuesday, the players will know they are in a special game, more intense than in the league. It’s the match the fans have been waiting for and there’ll be adrenalin aplenty on the pitch. We won’t freeze, we’ll be like lions.”
The French side produced one of the surprises of the group stages in October, when Mathieu Valbuena gave Gerets’ team a shock 1-0 victory in his first match in charge.
Since then, they have managed just one point from three European outings, yet their coach remains confident.
“We have already proved that we have the ability to defeat Liverpool,” he stated. “One of my colleagues said we don’t have a chance on paper, but the match won’t be played on paper. Even though they’re slight favourites, we’re at home and we’re unbeaten in our last five league games.”
Influential playmaker Samir Nasri is a doubt, although there is a slim chance he may return to replace Karim Ziani. “We’ll make a decision after training.”
Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez has come in for severe criticism since Saturday’s 3-1 loss at Reading ended his side’s unbeaten Premier League record, not least because he withdrew Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Fernando Torres to keep them fresh for Marseille.
“Right now, the Champions League is the most important competition for us,” said the Spaniard. “We were really disappointed to lose the Reading game, but we’re only thinking about this one and finding the right solutions.”
Daniel Agger and Xabi Alonso miss out through injury, and Andriy Voronin and Mohamed Sissoko have remained in England. Torres has recovered from an ankle knock though, and will lead the attack.
“We made a lot of mistakes when we last faced Marseille, but we know more about them and their coach now,” added Benitez. “If you want to win trophies then you have to win finals, and for us this is a final.”