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Koevermans ready to suffer for PSV survival

Injured Danny Koevermans says he is willing to sacrifice personal pain for collective gain as PSV Eindhoven prepare to take on Liverpool FC in their final UEFA Champions League fixture, with a UEFA Cup place in the offing.

Danny Koevermans has been flying in the UEFA Champions League for PSV this season
Danny Koevermans has been flying in the UEFA Champions League for PSV this season ©Getty Images

Danny Koevermans says he will sacrifice personal pain for collective gain when PSV Eindhoven take on Liverpool FC in their final UEFA Champions League Group D fixture, needing to better Olympique de Marseille's result at home to Club Atlético de Madrid to extend their European campaign into the new year.

'Still time'
Koevermans missed PSV's 4-2 victory over FC Groningen at the weekend due to a calf injury and is rated doubtful for the Liverpool match, although he has been named in coach Huub Stevens's 19-man squad. "I'm not completely fit," admitted the Dutch international. "I trained [on Monday] morning but things still aren't as they should be. On the other hand, there is still time so hopefully things will improve."

Scoring reliance
Koevermans has scored all four of his team's UEFA Champions League goals this season, including a late consolation in the 3-1 defeat by Liverpool at Anfield on Matchday 2. Only Lionel Messi and Steven Gerrard have scored more in Europe's premier club competition. His absence would therefore be a massive blow, but the player himself is willing to take a risk. "It obviously depends on the score in the other game," said the 30-year-old. "If Marseille are losing and we have to force things, I would be prepared to come off the bench to try and help."

PSV have to take at least a point from Tuesday's game and hope Atlético do them a favour at Marseille, with the French side currently ahead of them in the race for third and a UEFA Cup spot, by virtue of a superior head-to-head record. The Eindhoven club's destiny is therefore out of their hands. "It will be very difficult to take third place," said Koevermans. "We are so dependent on what happens in Marseille. We could end up winning 6-0 and still not going through. We just have to do our best, especially for our supporters."

World-class squad
With the visitors already assured of qualification and fighting hard to stay clear of the chasing pack in the Premier League, there is an obvious temptation for Rafael Benítez to rest key personnel. For Koevermans, it makes no difference. "Liverpool have 40 great players to choose from," he said. "So even though it may appear on paper that they are fielding a weakened team, it doesn't make much difference. They will all be world class anyway."