Real Betis v Liverpool
It’s the debutantes against the champions tonight as Real Betis kick off their inaugural Champions League campaign at home to Liverpool. It is the first time that the two teams have met in European competition.
With Spanish striker Fernando Morientes still nursing a torn hamstring, Djibril Cisse is likely to partner Peter Crouch up front for Liverpool, whilst midfielder Xabi Alonso is set to return to the starting line – up after missing the Reds’ Premeirship tie at Tottenham over the weekend.
The Andalucian side, meanwhile, will be without Edu and Luis Fernandez – who have forged a highly productive relationship on Betis’ left flank – are missing with knee and thigh injuries respectively, although winger Joaquin Sanchez is expected to play after shrugging off a meniscus problem.
Betis coach Llorenc Serra Ferrer is adamant that his side won’t be overawed by their opening Group G fixture.
“It is a great honour for Betis to play their first ever Champions League match against the champions,” he said.
“But we will play to win. The challenge is to show Europe that we can give a good account of ourselves”