By Brian Brownstein
Liverpool FC right-back Josemi is drawing on his side's steady form in Europe for inspiration ahead of their UEFA Champions League tie against AS Monaco tonight.
With only one point separating the Merseysiders, who sit second in Group A, from third-placed Monaco, Josemi is well aware of the importance of the fixture. However, despite the setback of a fourth away defeat in the Premiership at the weekend - 2-0 at Middlesbrough FC - he is hopeful Liverpool can succeed on their visit to the principality.
Cause for confidence
Josemi cites the Reds' 1-0 victory at RC Deportivo La Coruña on Matchday 4 as cause for confidence. "We have not been as effective as we want to be away from home so far this season and we will be drawing on our victory at Deportivo," he told uefa.com. "That result was great for our morale. We are in good form in the Champions League and we are looking forward to our match in Monaco."
More than a match
The Spaniard, signed from Málaga CF in the summer, respects the threat Monaco pose, yet insists Liverpool have nothing to fear at the Stade Louis II. He believes the English Premiership side have the players to more than match their French counterparts.
"Monaco have a great coach in Didier Deschamps and I think Javier Saviola will be the dangerman. As a Spanish player I know all about him from when he was with [FC] Barcelona," he said. "However, we have some great players too. Xabi Alonso and Steven Gerrard have shown they are fantastic players. They have great vision, and if we continue our good work we'll see the results."
Liverpool have, however, struggled for goals in this season's campaign, scoring only three in 360 minutes of football. This problem is now exacerbated by injuries to their two first-choice strikers Djibril Cissé and Milan Baroš. Both scored in Liverpool's 2-0 win against Monaco on Matchday 1, and Josemi is acutely aware that with Cissé out for the rest of the season, reinforcements are required.
The 25-year-old knows who he would like to see come in - ironically the man who scored the goals that fired Monaco to the Champions League final last season. "
Our greatest problem is that we have no back-up for our strikers," he said. "Fernando Morientes has been suggested as a new signing and he would be a great addition to the squad. He's very strong and is a great player - the best in Europe last season. But this is not my decision. The club will find a good replacement."
Away from Liverpool, Josemi's thoughts have been occupied by the racist chanting which occurred during the international friendly between Spain and England last week. As a Spaniard living in England, Josemi is embarrassed by the events at the Santiago Bernabéu.
"The scenes in Madrid were shameful," he said. "I truly believe this is a minority of supporters and not representative of Spain as a whole. We have to fight to stamp this out. I hope England have accepted the apology from Spanish football for the behaviour of those people.
'The right example'
"The only way to stop this is to continue working on education. We have to support all the activities for getting racism out of football and all places in society. It is not just confined to football, the game touches everyone and we must show the right example."
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.