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Warnock wary of CSKA revival

Stephen Warnock hopes Liverpool FC can hold off the challenge of PFC CSKA Sofia to seal their place in the UEFA Champions League group stage.

Major force
Having played the full 90 minutes in Bulgaria, with the European champions winning 3-1, the 23-year-old has underlined his emergence at the club by repeating the feat in both of Liverpool's opening English Premiership games. He is now ready for another professional job against CSKA.

Well drilled
"It's not really a case of [former Leeds United AFC manager] Don Revie-style dossiers being handed to us, but we have watched a lot of videos of our opponents," Warnock told uefa.com. "We all watched their key players and have seen how they play.

Tactical expertise
"Rafael Benítez is a very clever man, very tactically driven," he added. "The training is very tactic-heavy so everything has been drilled into us. His understanding of players is excellent and he always gets his points across, letting the squad know exactly what he wants from them."

Loan spells
The former English Under-21 international, who honed his skills during loan spells with Bradford City AFC and Coventry City FC, was a spectator as Liverpool beat AC Milan in the 2004/05 Champions League final, but is rapidly getting used to the unique atmosphere of the competition.

European atmosphere
"I'm starting to get used to the big European matches," he said. "You still get the nerves, but that's the buzz of the game. If you don't get that thrill then you've got to ask yourself whether you're still enjoying it. It's great to be a part of this team, but there's a lot more pressure on us to win now we're European champions.

'Big scalp'
"We've got to deal with that pressure and see if we can go out and retain the trophy," he continued. "I don't think teams try any harder just because we're the holders. Teams will just always come at Liverpool hard, as they would against any of the big teams. People always want to beat us, it's a big scalp for them."

CSKA class
Despite a comfortable success in Sofia, Warnock was impressed with CSKA. "They had a lot of good technical players and lots of good individuals," he said. "For the first 20 minutes they really came at us and could have caused an upset. We had to be ready for that. All round, they are a very strong team.

Morientes factor
"But we handled them quite well and it was good to see Fernando Morientes get a couple of goals," Warnock went on. "He's a quality act and I think that's plain to see. He's got a lot of experience in this competition and I think that's going to prove to be invaluable. He should score quite a few goals this year - hopefully starting tonight."