PSV Eindhoven may be on familiar ground at Anfield but they will be hoping to change the course of recent history when they visit Liverpool FC for the third time in three UEFA Champions League seasons on Wednesday.
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PSV Eindhoven may be on familiar ground, but they will be hoping to change the course of recent history when they visit Liverpool FC for the third time in three seasons in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.
The Dutch champions lost twice at Anfield in the 2006/07 campaign, succumbing 2-0 in the group stage and 1-0 in the quarter-finals, and, stung by a 3-0 defeat at home to Club Atlético de Madrid on Matchday 1, they will have something of a point to prove. In contrast, five-time European champions Liverpool kicked off Group D with an impressive 2-1 victory at Olympique de Marseille, but their manager Rafael Benítez is still wary of the threat posed by the visitors. "It will be dangerous for us, but right now I don't think they [PSV] have confidence, or at least that is the report that we have," Benítez said. "I have a lot of respect for them because they are always at the top of the Dutch league."
Two clinical strikes by Fernando Torres earned Liverpool a 2-0 win at the home of neighbours Everton FC on Saturday; a result which maintained their unbeaten start to the season and moved them up to second place in the Premier League table, behind leaders Chelsea FC on goal difference. Midfielders Javier Mascherano and Yossi Benayoun missed the Everton derby match through injury, though both are fit again, unlike full-back Philipp Degen who is nursing two broken ribs.
Benítez will not allow premature title talk to distract his squad as the focus switches to Europe. The Spaniard is aiming for his third appearance in the final since he took charge four years ago, having reached the last four in 2007/08. "When you are playing well and you are winning games and everyone is talking about how good you are, it's important to calm down and keep people thinking about the next game," Benítez said. "We know it's a risk when a lot of people are speaking highly about your team, so we will try to keep everyone concentrating on this game."
PSV coach Huub Stevens admitted his men made hard work of their third Eredivisie win in four matches when they overcame bottom-of-the-league side FC Volendam at the weekend. A host of chances were not converted, though their 1-0 victory left PSV second in the Dutch table, one point adrift of early frontrunners FC Groningen. Influential Netherlands midfielder Ibrahim Afellay missed the Volendam encounter because of a bruised toe and is still not fit to return.
Stevens, who was not at the helm when PSV last met Liverpool, said: "All of the English clubs are very strong, we know that, and Liverpool are also strong. We are going to make sure we play football the way we want to play. We lost the first match [against Atlético] 3-0 and we are going to have to take good lessons from it and learn from our mistakes, but it's not just that one game – you learn from every match."