Debrecen out to deal knockout blow

LONDON - French fair play could help keep Liverpool's Champions League hopes alive when they take on Debrecen in Hungary on Tuesday.

Five times champions Liverpool must win to have any hope of reaching the last 16 but they also need France's Olympique Lyon, who are already through, not to lose against Fiorentina in Italy.

Lyon have 10 points from four matches in Group E, Fiorentina are on nine and Liverpool four.

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez suggested last week's World Cup qualifying furore, with France beating Ireland after Thierry Henry handled the ball before the crucial goal, could help his side's position.

"I don't know if the Henry incident will affect Lyon, but it could be good for us," British Sunday newspapers quoted the Spaniard as saying.

"If they want to show everyone in the world they are good professionals and want to win every game, it would be good," he added.

"It could be something that works out positively for Liverpool. Their coach said they would try to win. He is a professional. I know Lyon have a good group of professionals and a good manager."

Unless Liverpool overcome Debrecen, a side that have yet to score a point in Group E while conceding more goals (14) than anyone else in the competition, the Premier League side can forget about going any further.



Lyon and Fiorentina both put four goals past them in their away matches but Liverpool have won just once in their last 10 games and managed only a 1-0 victory over the Hungarians at Anfield.

Sunday's 2-2 domestic draw at home to Manchester City only added to Benitez's headache with Danish defender Daniel Agger needing five stitches for a head wound while Ryan Babel limped off with an ankle injury.

Liverpool, who can ill afford to miss out on the lucrative final stages, are already without key striker Fernando Torres but are confident England full-back Glen Johnson will have recovered from a calf injury by Tuesday.

Israeli Yossi Benayoun, who came back from a hamstring injury to score the equaliser on Sunday, should also be fit while Benitez refused to rule out Babel and Agger.

Debrecen manager Andras Herczeg will be without key player Leandro, who is suffering from a partially torn knee ligament and could be out for a month or two. Either Zsolt Laczko or Marcell Fodor is likely to take the left back's position.

Norbert Meszaros had recovered from a groin injury but forward Robert Feczesin is still injured. Montenegro keeper Vukasin Poleksic was rested for Friday's 2-1 away win at Honved but should start.

Probable teams:

Debrecen: 1-Vukasin Poleksic; 10-Laszlo Bodnar, 17-Norbert Meszaros, 16-Adam Komlosi, 21-Marcell Fodor or 86-Zsolt Laczko; 77-Peter Czvitkovics, 30-Zoltan Kiss, 33-Jozsef Varga, 55-Peter Szakaly; 14-Gergely Rudolf, 39-Adamo Coulibaly.

Liverpool: 25-Pepe Reina; 2-Glen Johnson, 23-Jamie Carragher, 37-Martin Skrtel, 22-Emiliano Insua; 15-Yossi Benayoun, 21-Lucas, 20-Javier Mascherano, 18-Dirk Kuyt; 8-Steven Gerrard; 24-David Ngog.

Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (Netherlands)