PSV Eindhoven must secure at least a draw when they take on five-time European champions Liverpool on Tuesday and also hope things go their way in Marseille, if they wish to earn a place in the UEFA Cup.
PSV, bottom of Group D, need to better Marseille’s result against Atlético Madrid in order to leapfrog the French club and secure third place and the consolation of a place in the UEFA Cup.
“We’ll just have to see how things develop,” said PSV coach Huub Stevens. “We have a minimal chance of going through, but we have to go for it.”
Both Otman Bakkal and Nordin Amrabat are in contention to start against Liverpool after excellent performances as second-half substitutes in the weekend’s 4-2 win over Groningen.
That said, Amrabat “reported some stiffness today” according to Stevens, after making his first appearance since picking up a groin injury in October. It is a similar story with Danny Koevermans, who is struggling to overcome a calf knock.
“We remain hopeful,” said the coach, “and both players are part of our plans, otherwise they wouldn’t be in the squad.”
Definitely out are playmaker Ibrahim Afellay, who strained ankle ligaments against Atlético on Matchday 5, and defender Jan Kromkamp, whose ankle injury prevents him facing his former club.
Liverpool approach the game in confident mood after maintaining their one-point lead over Chelsea at the top of the Premier League with a 3-1 victory away to Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.
“It is clear that we will be making several changes,” said coach Rafa Benitez. “It’s easier for us here because we’re already qualified.”
Even so, with first place in the group at stake, it is unlikely that Benítez will weaken his side too much.
“We prefer to play the second leg at home [in the last 16], so we want to win,” he said.
Definitely absent will be Fernando Torres (hamstring), Fábio Aurélio (calf), Philipp Degen (foot) and Martin Škrtel (knee). Dirk Kuyt is rested and has not travelled to his native country.