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Liverpool clutch at last straw

Published: Wednesday 17 March 2010, 22.05CET
Pepe Reina urged Liverpool FC to seize their "last opportunity to lift a trophy" this season as they go into the home leg of their round of 16 tie against LOSC Lille Métropole 1-0 down.
by Nick Aitken
from Anfield
Liverpool clutch at last straw
Rafael Benítez addresses his side in training ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

LiverpoolLille

Goals scored14
 
19
Attempts on target76
 
93
Attempts off target4
 
0
Corners44
 
51
Offsides26
 
38
Fouls committed114
 
143
Yellow cards15
 
21
Red cards1
 
0

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Published: Wednesday 17 March 2010, 22.05CET

Liverpool clutch at last straw

Pepe Reina urged Liverpool FC to seize their "last opportunity to lift a trophy" this season as they go into the home leg of their round of 16 tie against LOSC Lille Métropole 1-0 down.

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.

This is our last opportunity to lift a trophy which is why it's so important for us; it's massive.
Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina

"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."

Last updated: 18/03/10 16.04CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2010/matches/round=2000039/match=2000952/prematch/preview/index.html#last+straw+liverpool

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