Marseille coach Erik Gerets is desperate to avoid a repeat of the outcome the last time the two sides met when Liverpool returned from France with a 4-0 win.
That game, played last December, secured Rafael Benítez’s men with a place in the knockout rounds at their hosts’ expense, but Gerets says his side have learned from that experience.
“Liverpool won’t surprise us like last time,” warned Gerets. “Their physical qualities hurt us a lot, but that won’t happen this season. We won’t make the same mistakes.”
“I love it every time I watch English games,” he said after watching the reds 2-1 win over Manchester United on Saturday. “The Liverpool players were like Duracell bunnies. You just wind them up and they keep going. England still sets the example in terms of players giving everything. We should be jealous.”
Gerets is boosted by the returns from injury of midfielders Mathieu Valbuena and Hatem Ben Arfa. They featured as late substitutes as second-placed Marseille remained unbeaten in Ligue 1 with Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Bordeaux..
The team selection issues for Liverpool revolve around Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres. Gerrard played 22 minutes as a substitute on Saturday after recovering from a groin operation, while Torres was confined to the bench.
“Both are fit and both could start,” explained Benítez, while also backing Javier Mascherano to be ready after suffering a calf strain at the weekend. Left-back Fábio Aurelio did not travel.
“We have a very good team, capable of beating Marseille, and that’s a good start,” Benitez said. “It’s too early for talking about anything else. We know Marseille are a good team and we need to focus on that. I think they’re stronger than last season.”