Champions League 3rd qualifying round second leg (1st leg scores in brackets)
Liverpool Grazer AK (2-0)
Liverpool play Graz AK of Austria in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League qualifier at Anfield tonight.
The Reds hold a 2-0 aggregate advantage over the Austrian champions after the first leg and are favourites to qualify for the lucrative group stages.
Liverpool manager, Rafael Benitez, has hinted he may play some of his fringe players such as Florent Sinama-Pongolle and Igor Biscan as he looks to freshen things up.
The Spaniard is well aware that failure tonight would be disastrous and has challenged his players to restore the club’s reputation by putting themselves among Europe’s elite.
He said: “This game is important for us, for the supporters and the club. We know good teams are waiting for us and there is always the money – the players must concentrate on getting this right.
“It’s important the players understand we cannot have a bad result. Sometimes, you give the players the opportunity to show people if they are good enough for the team and you will see two or three different players in this game.
“It is important for them and I am sure they will fight and run enough because they know the supporters and manager are watching them.”
Spanish defender, Josemi, is doubtful for Liverpool after picking up a back injury on Saturday’s win over Manchester City.
Jamie Carragher could move across to right-back with Stephane Henchoz taking over at centre-back.
Senegal international, Salif Diao, is expected to get his chance to impress the new boss when he replaces Steve Finnan in midfield.
But goalkeeper Chris Kirkland still has a back injury, while former Real Madrid midfielder, Antonio Nunez, also misses the match with a knee problem.
New Spanish pair, Xabi Alonso and Luis Garcia, are ineligible as they were not signed in time.
Local youngsters Stephen Warnock, Darren Potter and Zak Whitbred may also be called upon.
Graz AK have no injury worries as they look to overturn the first leg deficit. They are expected to field an attacking line-up as they look to keep their Champions League dreams alive.
Inter v Basle (1-1)
Italian giants, Inter will have to make home advantage count as they take on FC Basle at the San Siro tonight.
Inter were held to a 1-1 draw in Switzerland in the first leg, and the team from Milan know they will have to be on song if they are to avoid elimination against the Swiss minnows.
The hosts are without Fabio Cannavaro and Obefami Martins. Christian Vieri has recovered from injury and starts on the bench, meaning Julio Cesar of Alvaro Recoba will partner Brazilian, Adriano, up-front.
Inter manager, Roberto Mancini, can also select Dutch midfielder, Edgar Davids, who has recovered from a thigh strain.
Basle have invested on fresh talent over the summer but have made a poor start to the domestic league. And midfield player, Mario Cantaluppi, is hoping tonight’s result will kick-start their season.
He said: “We need to play very well and focus over the course of the whole game. Then we have a good chance of qualifying.”
Deportivo La Coruna v Shelbourne (0-0)
Last year’s semi-finalists, Deportivo La Coruna, host Irish champions Shelbourne at Riazor stadium tonight.
The Irish minnows surprised many people when they held the Spanish giants to a 0-0 draw in Dublin two weeks ago in the first leg.
Javier Irueta’s Deportivo team are aiming to for a fifth consecutive appearance at the group stages of European football’s elite competition.
Their only injury doubt is midfielder, Mauro Silva, with a pulled hamstring. Striker Diego Tristan has been dropped but Also Duscher, Jamie Sanchez and Fran Gonzales are fit.
Irueta is expected to name the same team that was humbled in Dublin.
Deportivo defender, Hector Berenguer realises the importance of this match and insists his team are focused on the task ahead.
He said: “We were in a similar position last season when we met Rosenborg who we eliminated without too many problems. To be knocked out, especially at our own ground, would be a disaster.”
Shelbourne boss, Pat Fenlon, said that the tie is the biggest in the club’s history. He understands his side are underdogs but insists that an upset is possible.
He claimed: “It is going to take a lot of hard work and everything is going to have to fall right for us. But we would not be here unless we had a chance of making it through.”
Monaco v Gorica (3-0)
Last season’s runners-up, Monaco, are in a comfortable position as they play Slovenian side, Gorica, at home in Monte Carlo Stade Louis tonight.
The French team defeated their opponents 3-0 a fortnight ago in the first leg but will be below full strength for the return tie.
Defender Patrice Evra is suspended and captain Julien Rodriguez is still out with a knee injury. New signing, Ernesto Chevanton, is also a major doubt after hurting his calf during training.
Anderlecht v Benfica (0-1)
Portuguese giants Benfica take a slender 1-0 advantage to Anderlecht in Belgium tonight.
But the team from the Estadio da Luz have no injury worries and will field the same team that won the first leg.
Anderlecht coach, Hugo Broos, may field the three attackers Aruna Dindane, Mbo Mpenza and Nenad Jestrovic to overturn the 1-0 deficit. The manager has been very secretive of his selection plans and has been conducting training behind closed doors.
He said: “I have something I want to try out, and I cannot use any snoopers with that.”
But his plans may be affected, as Jestrovic must fully recover from a hell injury.
Maccabi v Rosenborg (1-2)
In tonight’s final match, Rosenborg of Norway travel to Tel-Aviv to meet Maccabi Haifa.
The Norwegian side hold a 2-1 advantage from the first leg and are flying in their domestic league. They beat title rivals Tromso 3-0 on Saturday and will field an unchanged side that aims for their ninth group stage campaign in ten years.
Haifa coach Roni Levi is expected to make changes to the team that lost in Rosenborg two weeks ago.
He remains optimistic and said: “With the support of our fans, I think we can do it. But we must not forget that our opponents are a very strong and organised side.”