04 November 2007


Gerrard insists Liverpool have qualifying quality (can I regain my fans trust? hmmm.... )

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is convinced that the club can rescue their Champions League dreams.
After a dreadful start to their Group A campaign, which includes defeats by Besiktas and Marseille while they only managed a draw with Porto, Gerrard knows that there is now no room for any more slip-ups.

In fact, Liverpool must win all three of their final three group matches, starting at home to Besiktas on Tuesday, to have any chance of reaching the last 16 knock-out stage in the New Year.
Now Gerrard, back to his best form after an injury-troubled season, has launched a rallying call ahead of next week's Anfield showdown with the Turkish club who so humiliated Liverpool in Istanbul last month.
Gerrard says: "Giving up or feeling sorry for ourselves is not something we have even thought about.
"After the defeat by Besiktas we could not really believe that we had not taken anything from the game. We dominated possession, territory and chances but they hit us with a sucker punch on the break."
But Gerrard concedes that Liverpool are left with a nightmare scenario of failing to reach the big money of the last 16.
He said: "What we have now is an absolute mountain to climb. But there is a real belief in the group that we can make it happen.
"We have been in this situation before, many times - maybe too many times - and we have pulled through."
Liverpool fans recall a Gerrard-inspired comeback against Olympiacos in the final group match of the 2004/05 editions of the competition when all seemed lost.
Gerrard added: "We have also managed great comebacks in Istanbul in the Champions League Final, plus at Cardiff against West Ham in the FA Cup Final.
"They were one-off games, but there is no reason why we cannot hit top form for three consecutive European Cup games."
And Gerrard believes that the intimidation of Anfield can help Liverpool's cause yet again.
He said: "It is a help that two of the three games are at home, Besiktas and then Porto.
"That is going to be massive for us, it means that Anfield and our supporters can come into play to give us a lift to push us to where when we need it.
"It is three cup finals for us now and we know we can do it. But we have made it a lot tougher than it had to be.
"But I can assure everyone that we will be ready for Besiktas next week and this time we will take our chances."
Boss Rafael Benitez has history on his side, having guided his previous club Valencia to a UEFA Cup success over Besiktas.
They won 3-2 at home and 2-0 away in the third round and then followed that by defeating another Turkish opponent, Genclerbirligi before going on to win the trophy.
Besiktas' three previous visits to face sides in England has brought two defeats, 3-1 against Aston Villa in the 82/83 European Cup first round and 6-0 against Leeds in the 2000/01 Champions League.
However they are one of the few sides who have managed to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in this competition, a 2-0 victory in the 2003/04 group stage that remains their only success in 10 Champions League away games.

utusanLFC : lose this, and the only realistic cup for LFC to win is the Carling Cup. ...

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