By John Atkin
Liverpool FC face a short trip to Wrexham in north Wales to play Total Network Solutions FC, looking to seal one of three UEFA Champions League second qualifying round places on offer tonight.
A hat-trick from captain Steven Gerrard gave the European champions a 3-0 victory in the first instalment at Anfield last week and the English side could afford to lose by two goals and qualify. But only a win will satisfy manager Rafael Benítez who is seeking a continuation of his team's healthy pre-season form.
Liverpool beat Bundesliga club Bayer 04 Leverkusen 3-0 on Saturday to make it three wins out of three. Djibril Cissé scored a first-half double to set up a victory that saw debuts for new boys Mohamed Sissoko and Boudewijn Zenden.
Racecourse Ground return
Milan Baroš completed the scoring after the restart, having also registered twice in a 4-3 win at Wrexham FC the previous week. However, the Czech international is omitted from the squad, along with goalkeeping hero Jerzy Dudek, for Liverpool's return to the Racecourse Ground, TNS having switched venues from their Latham Park home in Llansantffraid.
'Nothing to lose'
Zenden could feature, though, and the experienced Dutchman has warned his colleagues against complacency. "TNS gave a good account of themselves at Anfield," he said. "They have nothing to lose so they'll look to give us another good game. Obviously we should win but there's still work to be done."
After Istanbul, Liverpool know more than most that a three-goal lead does not guarantee victory, but TNS are unlikely to repeat that comeback feat. Such were their exertions last Wednesday, manager Ken McKenna has only given light training since, while he waits on the fitness of Steve Evans and Thomas Holmes.
Whichever side wins, they are likely to encounter FBK Kaunas after the Lithuanian club earned a significant first-leg advantage with a 4-2 win over HB Tórshavn in the Faroe Islands. Andrius Velicka was on target twice to leave HB with a huge task to overturn the deficit in Kaunas.
The evening's other game sees Estonian champions FC Levadia Tallinn take the slenderest of leads to Georgia to face FC Dinamo Tbilisi. A first-half penalty from midfielder Konstantin Nahk separated the sides in last week's first leg. Michael Laudrup's Brøndby IF await the winners in the second qualifying round.
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