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'Not a question of revenge' for OM

Lorik Cana insists "we're better now" as he prepares to lead a much-changed Olympique de Marseille team against a Liverpool FC side who dealt them a 4-0 defeat at the Stade Vélodrome last December.

Lorik Cana faces the press ahead of the Liverpool match
Lorik Cana faces the press ahead of the Liverpool match ©Getty Images

Raw memories of a 4-0 loss are not much good for confidence, but Olympique de Marseille captain Lorik Cana believes his side can overcome Liverpool FC when the clubs renew acquaintances in their UEFA Champions League Group D opener.

Better equipped
The heavy defeat at the Stade Vélodrome last December ended Marseille's interest in the competition when a draw would have taken them into the knockout phase. It was a chastening result which suggested the Mediterranean outfit have much to learn at the highest level, though Cana insists that is no longer the case. "We're better now," he said. "We have more experience, and good players have arrived at the club since. They've added to the quality that was already here, so compared to years gone by, this is a better OM team."

Liverpool praise
The Albania midfielder denies that Marseille will be motivated by a desire for retribution. "It's not a question of revenge," he explained. "If anything, we want to take revenge on ourselves, for the club and for the fans. Not on Liverpool, who were simply the better team." Cana hopes that will not be the case this time around, but concedes he was impressed by the performance that earned Rafael Benítez's men a 2-1 win against Manchester United FC on Saturday. "They've got big names, big talent and huge desire," he added. "We know they're favourites but we'll focus on ourselves. We'll be playing to win."

Good form
Rested for Marseille's 1-1 draw at FC Girondins de Bordeaux on Saturday, the 25-year-old should return to central midfield to face the Reds. His leadership qualities could prove crucial as summer signings Vitorino Hilton and Bakari Koné are in line to make their debuts at this level – not that the skipper expects them to be fazed. "They're going to find out about this competition, but they're players with talent and good players always adapt quickly. They've fitted into the squad in no time and have been playing well, showing good form – just like the rest of the team. I'm not worried about them." Nor, apparently, about the side who left Marseille's dreams in tatters last term.