Group A
Kick-off: 19:45 (BST)

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Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez believes the appointment of a new coach may inspire Marseille when the French side visit Anfield in tonight’s Champions League Group A game.

Erik has recently replaced Albert Emon at Marseille, and Benítez said: “It is dangerous when the team changes a manager and Marseille have had ten days to prepare for this game. They know that they are not having good moments in the league, so the Champions League will be a priority for them. If they can change their mentality, the quality will be there.”

Liverpool started their Group A challenge with a fitful display, drawing 1-1 Porto two weeks ago.

“We started really poorly and we need to improve – we know that,” Benítez admitted. “Maybe it was because Porto were doing a good job but we showed character, playing 30 minutes with ten men away from home.”

Liverpool are without the suspended Jermaine Pennant, while Daniel Agger and Xabi Alonso are both missing with broken metatarsals.

Marseille have had a poor start to the season, winning just one of their nine Ligue 1 matches and losing 2-0 AJ Auxerre in their last match on 22 September.

Gerets, though, chose to acccentuate the positive, seeing tonight’s encounter as an opportunity to kick-start the club’s season.

“What a fantastic opportunity it is to start off your career here at Anfield against a team like Liverpool in the Champions League,” said the Belgian. “Liverpool are one of the best sides in Europe. They deserve all our respect, but we don’t need to be fearful.”

Ronald Zubar returns having been being suspended for the 2-0 home defeat of Besiktas JK, although Samir Nasri misses out with a virus and Jacques Faty has not travelled because of a thigh problem.

Djibril Cissé and Boudewijn Zenden return to Anfield having departed for Marseille in the summery.

“It’s important if you have two players who have played for Liverpool in the past,” said Gerets, before adding: “I just hope the things they have told me are right, otherwise they will get a serious punishment!”

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