LONDON: Liverpool will look to the return of talismanic skipper Steven Gerrard to help guide them into the knockout stages of the Champions League with a victory over Marseille here today.
Gerrard was badly missed as the Reds blew a great opportunity to pull clear at the top of the English Premier League with a lacklustre display in Saturday’s goalless draw at home to struggling Fulham.
But the England midfielder has now recovered from the groin muscle injury that also forced him to miss his country’s friendly win in Germany earlier this month and is set to start the Group D clash.
The failure to overcome Fulham on a day when Chelsea also dropped points has been a source of frustration in the Liverpool dressing room.
But centreback Jamie Carragher insists it will not be allowed to become a negative turning point in what has been a highly promising season to date.
“Of course you want to win these games but when it doesn’t happen you can’t afford to get too downhearted because it’s a tough league and I’m sure there are going to be plenty of games like that between now and next May,” Carragher said.
“The most important thing is our own results though because at this stage of the season we don’t need to be looking at anyone else’s results, we should just be concentrating on ourselves and our own form.”
That theme was echoed by Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez.
“We are disappointed about Saturday but we cannot talk about past games now,” said the Spaniard. “We have to think about the mistakes and analyse why and find solutions for the next game.
“We are frustrated, really frustrated. How can we change that now? We have to analyse and talk to the players about the mistakes and try to change for the next game.”
With Gerrard returning to the fold, Benitez is looking forward to the midfielder reprising the partnership with Fernando Torres that allowed the pair to plunder more than 50 goals in the Spanish striker’s first season at Anfield.
“Last season it was clear to see that the understanding between Torres and Gerrard was really good and there have been signs this year that it is getting better,” Benitez said. — AP