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France unites behind Marseille

Olympique de Marseille captain Lorik Cana believes the whole of France will be behind his team when they welcome Liverpool FC in tonight's Group A decider.

Lorik Cana in action at Anfield
Lorik Cana in action at Anfield ©Getty Images

Olympique de Marseille captain Lorik Cana believes the whole of France will be behind his team when they host Liverpool FC in Tuesday's UEFA Champions League Group A decider.

French support
A draw would be enough to take Marseille into the knockout stage, unless Beşiktaş JK triumph at FC Porto, and Cana feels the entire country will be backing the Mediterranean outfit to secure a famous result. "We're totally confident we can come out on top," he said. "We're close to doing something fantastic and we showed we can play at the highest level with our [1-0] win at Liverpool [on Matchday 2]. Liverpool are a great side but we'll be at home and we'll not only have our fans behind us, we'll have everyone in France behind us."

Liverpool pedigree
Despite the optimism of the Albanian international, who has recovered from an ankle knock to feature in his usual defensive midfield role, he expects a busy evening against a club with a rich European pedigree. "Our opponents were runners-up in this competition last year and they won it not so long ago," he explained. "What's most impressive about them is how they operate as a team and always seem to get the job done in must-win matches. They also have great individual players like [Steven] Gerrard and [Fernando] Torres, who are in good form and can do extraordinary things to change games."

Gerrard admiration
Gerrard, who scored his 50th Premier League goal for the Merseysiders in Saturday's 3-1 loss at Reading FC, is a player Cana risks locking horns with more than a few times at the Stade Vélodrome. Cana also hit the target at the weekend, heading Marseille's second in their 2-0 win against AS Monaco FC, and the 24-year-old reveals a genuine admiration for his counterpart: "He's one of the best players in the world in his position. It's even more of an incentive for me to come up against individuals like that, but we won't be marking anyone individually."

Cissé slump
Cana also hopes this crunch encounter can inspire striker Djibril Cissé, who joined from Liverpool in 2006 but has suffered a recent slump in form and will probably start on the bench. "This might be the match that changes things for him," said his skipper. "He'll feel he's got something to prove. He's still a world-class player and we're happy he's on our side rather than theirs."