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Liverpool FC face north-west rivals Manchester United FC on Sunday in one of the biggest games of their domestic season, but for goalkeeper Pepe Reina their UEFA Europa League round of 16 decider against LOSC Lille Métropole may be more important.
"We know we can play good football and we like being in European competition," said the 27-year-old, who also revealed he was close to signing a new contract at Anfield. "
This is our last opportunity to lift a trophy which is why it's so important for us; it's massive."
A goal down following Eden Hazard's 84th-minute free-kick in France, manager Rafael Benítez insisted thoughts would not be straying towards the United fixture. "We have two important games in a few days but we have to concentrate on the first one and only later think about the other," he said. "[Lille] have quality and will be confident after the first-leg win, but we're playing at Anfield and hopefully, with the crowd behind us, we can do our job."
Liverpool could be without Italian midfielder Alberto Aquilani, a scorer in Monday's 4-1 Premier League win against Portsmouth FC, due to a stomach upset. The visitors also warmed up with victory over the side lying bottom of their domestic standings, beating Grenoble Foot 38 1-0 on Sunday. They cannot count on strikers Gervinho and Túlio De Melo, nor midfielder Mathieu Debuchy and defenders Nicolas Plestan and Ricardo Costa.
Lille coach Rudi Garcia said: "We pushed them all the way in the first leg and we can do that again. It's our state of mind that's important, not theirs. If Liverpool play well, win the game and deserve it then fair enough, but although we're not such a big side on the European scene, we're here to do well and prove we can perform on the biggest stage."
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