Rudi Garcia reminded his LOSC Lille Métropole side that they were "making history" as they prepared to meet Liverpool FC in the UEFA Europa League round of 16, adding that his team was "not built" to defend.
There is plenty of excitement in the Lille ranks about the visit of Rafael Benítez's side, with coach Garcia admitting that there was little point in telling his side that their main priority was Ligue 1. "If I asked my players to take it easy against Liverpool, they wouldn't listen to me," he joked.
Instead, he dared his men to dream despite the calibre of their rivals. "I'd prefer us to go down fighting playing our game rather than see us just trying to counter our opponents – our team is just not built to do that," he said. "At the beginning of the group stage we weren't favourites in a group with Valencia and Genoa, but we made it through. We're making history."
Matthieu Debuchy, European top scorer Gervinho – who has five goals to his name in this season's competition – and striker Túlio De Melo will miss the game through injury, while Adil Rami is yet to shake off a bout of flu, but the other Lille players are itching for action. Midfielder Yohan Cabaye is thrilled to have the opportunity to take on Steven Gerrard, noting: "He's a world-class player, but he has two legs and two arms just like me. I'll take him on, man against man."
Still dealing with the fall-out from Monday's 1-0 Premier League loss at Wigan Athletic FC, Benítez said Liverpool are eager to make amends although there are doubts over Yossi Benayoun's fitness. "This is an opportunity for us to do things right, try to get a good result and be ready for the next game," said the coach. "In football sometimes you prefer to have some time to rest, but now I think it is better to play games quickly."
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