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Debrecen V Liverpool - Match Preview
Published : 24 Nov 2009 14:53:18
Liverpool take on Debrecen tonight knowing that even a win might not be good enough to keep their Champions League dreams alive.
After a dismal group stage performance, the Reds must win in Hungary this evening and hope that already-qualified Lyon can gain at least a point when they travel to Italy to face second in the group Fiorentina.
If the Viola beat Lyon tonight then Rafa Benitez's side will be eliminated, but if they fail to win and Liverpool pick up three points in their game, qualification for the first knock-out round will come down to the pair's Anfield clash next month.
Benitez will be without top-scorer Fernando Torres as he continues to suffer with a long-term groin problem.
Ryan Babel (ankle) and Albert Riera (hamstring) will also be absent for the trip but Glenn Johnson and Daniel Agger should both be fit to start.
Steven Gerrard should support David N'Gog in the Reds' attack after he came through 90 minutes against Manchester City unscathed.
Jamie Carragher looks set to revert to his more familiar position of centre-half with the return of Johnson to right-back and the vice-captain does not think it is the end of the world if his team are eliminated tonight.
He said: 'We're still focused and believe we can go through in the Champions League. If not, you move on. The club doesn't die because you get knocked out of the competition.”
Hosts Debrecen will be looking to achieve the biggest upset in their history later this evening as they bid to knock the 2005 Champions League winners out of this year's tournament.
Despite losing all four of their group games thus far, the Hungarian champions could still qualify for the Europa league by virtue of a third-placed finish in the group should they manage to overhaul their struggling opponents in group E.
Manager Andras Herczeg has two injury worries ahead of the game, with Robert Feczesin (knee) and Leandro (hamstring) both ruled out but Gergely Rudolf is expected to start in attack after missing the game at Anfield.