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Debrecen face Anfield baptism of fire

Published: Wednesday 16 September 2009, 9.45CET
Debreceni VSC coach András Herczeg is brimming with excitement as his young team prepare for their "next step", into the unknown, as they travel to Liverpool FC for their first outing in the group stage.
Debrecen face Anfield baptism of fire
Rafael Benítez has tasted UEFA Champions League success with Liverpool before ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

LiverpoolDebrecen

Goals scored5
 
5
Attempts on target31
 
28
Attempts off target43
 
26
Corners52
 
25
Offsides20
 
21
Fouls committed82
 
108
Yellow cards3
 
7
Red cards0
 
0
 
Published: Wednesday 16 September 2009, 9.45CET

Debrecen face Anfield baptism of fire

Debreceni VSC coach András Herczeg is brimming with excitement as his young team prepare for their "next step", into the unknown, as they travel to Liverpool FC for their first outing in the group stage.

Debreceni VSC coach András Herczeg is brimming with excitement as his young team prepare for their "next step", into the unknown, as they make their debut in the UEFA Champions League proper against five-time champions Liverpool FC. The Anfield hosts are not taking their visitors for granted either, knowing a Group E victory is no given against a side on an eight-game winning streak.

Quotes
Rafael Benítez, Liverpool manager
If Liverpool are doing well in the Champions League, it's very good for the club in a number of ways. It's extremely important for us to progress. Debrecen have won eight games in a row and they will take a lot of confidence from that. But it's difficult to judge if, with all respect, they haven't been playing against top sides each week. They are excited about being here and they want to succeed, and I am aware that they are also dangerous on the break. But this is a top club and the pressure is on us to win. We lost two games at the start of the season, but I really feel the senior players have responded.

András Herczeg, Debrecen coach
Our opponents are world class, a club famous around the world, and this is a fantastic experience for us. We know we are underdogs, but we would like to show our ability, to prove it wasn't only luck that took us to the group stage. In qualifying we faced teams rated higher than us, although they weren't in Liverpool's class. We proved ourselves round after round, but this is a really big challenge. The result itself isn't my main concern – it's how my players react to this experience that really counts. People were surprised last season when we won the league with such a young team. It shows the kind of potential my players have and I want to see the next step in their development against Liverpool. This is a good time for Hungarian football, the whole nation is behind us.

Key stats
• Quarter-finalists in the UEFA Champions League last season, Liverpool are competing in their sixth successive group-stage campaign and not once have they failed to reach the last 16. Benítez's side lost just one of 12 matches in the 2008/09 competition – at home to Chelsea FC in the last eight – and will be determined to make a winning start.

• For Debrecen this is the second time they have visited England and they will hope to fare better than the previous occasion when they lost 3-0 to Manchester United FC in a third qualifying round tie in August 2005 – the first instalment of a 6-0 aggregate defeat.

• There are four survivors in Debrecen's squad from that last visit to north-west England: Tibor Dombi played while Csaba Bernáth, Zoltán Kiss and Ádám Komlósi were on the bench. Kiss and Dombi featured in the return.

• Debrecen may be new to the UEFA Champions League but Läszló Bodnar has previously faced Liverpool in the competition. Bodnar was on the bench for former club FC Dynamo Kyiv's 1-0 defeat at Anfield in September 2001 and then played the first 56 minutes as Liverpool won 2-1 in Kiev the following month.

Team news
Liverpool
Out: Alberto Aquilani (ankle), Daniel Agger (back)
Suspended: None
Misses next match if booked: None

Debrecen
Out: Zoltán Szélesi (knee)
Doubtful: Gergely Rudolf (knee), Djordje Pantić (concussion)
Suspended: József Varga, Tibor Dombi
Misses next match if booked: None

Weekend results
12/09/09 Liverpool 4-0 Burnley FC
(Benayoun 27 61 82, Kuyt 41)

11/09/09 Paksi SE 0-1 Debrecen
(Szakály 33)

Did you know?
Liverpool midfielder Yossi Benayoun scored his first international goal at any level for Israel's Under-16 side against Hungary, securing a 1-0 home win for his team on 20 September 1995.

Last updated: 27/09/14 5.23CET

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