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Toulouse hoping to buck trends

Andriy Voronin's first-leg winner and indifferent league form have left the odds stacked against Toulouse FC ahead of their journey to Anfield to face Liverpool FC.

Andriy Voronin (centre) celebrates his winning goal in the first leg
Andriy Voronin (centre) celebrates his winning goal in the first leg ©Getty Images

After Andriy Voronin gave Liverpool FC a first-leg lead in France on 15 August Toulouse FC were always going to face an uphill task at Anfield, but their early league form has not provided a boost prior to the trip to England.

League problems
Since the third qualifying round first leg, Toulouse have lost 3-1 at home to promoted RC Strasbourg and drawn 1-1 at OGC Nice in Ligue 1, although former FC Lorient midfielder André-Pierre Gignac scored his first goals for his new club in those games. However, the performance in Nice gave coach Elie Baup cause for optimism as his side showed some of the spirit that earned them a third-placed finish last term. "The way we came back reminded me of last season," he said. "So far I had not found the virtues my players showed then: never surrendering, never accepting defeat. We will try to surprise Liverpool and all those who think our fate is sealed. We are not going there for sightseeing."

Ilunga returns
Baup is relieved to have Congolese centre-back Hérita Ilunga back from suspension, although Albin Ebondo sustained a thigh injury during first leg. Daniel Congré (shoulder) and captain Dominique Arribagé (knee) remain sidelined with long-term injuries. Liverpool have problems of their own after centre-backs Sami Hyypiä (broken nose) and Jamie Carragher (broken rib) were taken off during Saturday's 2-0 win at Sunderland AFC. Carragher will not play but Reds manager Rafael Benítez was more confident about Hyypiä, saying: "I think he will be okay. The break was in the right place so I don't think it will be a problem."

Fortress Anfield
Carragher will join Steven Gerrard on the sidelines after the England midfielder missed the win against Sunderland with a broken toe. "With Steven we need to take care of him," said Benítez. "He could be available for the [Premier League] game at the weekend but we'll have to see. I will need to talk to the doctor first because I don't want to run the risk of losing him for a long time. This week we will keep him training and keep him fit and then see about the Derby [County FC] game on Saturday." Having won seven and drawn one of their home European matches against French opposition over the years, the Anfield club will still start as heavy favourites even without their talismanic captain.

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