Crucial night for Olympiakos

Tonight will be a crucial night for Olympiakos as the club, leader of its group, takes on Liverpool at Anfield in a bid to advance to the next round of Champions League knockout competition. Sixteen places are reserved for the top two sides from eight qualifying groups. Olympiakos, three points ahead of second-placed Monaco and four ahead of third-placed Liverpool, would seal its berth with at least a draw. Even a loss could do, if Monaco loses against Deportivo in Spain. «This will be the most difficult, decisive game – the most important of all. I would like us to possess all the elements that provided us with the previous results but I don’t want us to be stressed,» noted Olympiakos’s coach Dusan Bajevic. The Serb-Greek coach said that despite not needing a clear victory, Olympiakos would not hold back. The visiting side, he said, would instead push to score. «We’re going to try and score a goal. We’ll be looking for it,» Bajevic said. Commenting on Group A’s other game, in which a Deportivo victory at home against Monaco would assure the Greek club of its berth regardless of how it fares against Liverpool, Bajevic said he expected no external favors. Bajevic said that despite being without several key players, Liverpool had shown good form in domestic Premier League competition. «They’ve played well in recent games, as we saw against Aston Villa and Arsenal. We know what kind of an atmosphere to expect,» he said. As for the availability of injured Argentinean defender Gabriel Schurrer, who is determined to play at Anfield, Bajevic said a last-minute decision would be made. In the Liverpool camp, midfielder Steven Gerrard says he is desperate to play Champions League football. The England international nearly joined Chelsea this year due to his frustration at Liverpool’s failure to compete for trophies. Liverpool have to win 1-0 or by two clear goals to guarantee their place in the next round, and Gerrard has urged his side’s supporters not to become anxious if they fail to score early. «I’m not sure if we will go at them thinking attack, attack, attack,» he said. «We need to score goals, but there is 90 minutes in a football match and you don’t have to win it in the first 20 minutes. We will have to be patient.» (Kathimerini, Reuters)