Wed, Oct 01, 2008 - Page 20 News List

UK soccer clubs look to maintain winning streak


Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez, right, stands beside player Xabi Alonso during a training session at the club’s Melwood training ground the day before their Group D Champions League soccer match against PSV Eindhoven in Liverpool yesterday.


Both Chelsea and Liverpool will be looking to notch up their second successive Champions League victory when they play surprise Romanian package Cluj and PSV Eindhoven respectively today.

Chelsea outclassed French side Bordeaux in their first match of the campaign a fortnight ago but may find Cluj a tougher proposition after they pulled off a stunning victory over AS Roma in their debut in the competition.

Liverpool started with a hardfought 2-1 away win over Bordeaux’ French rivals Marseille and have a good recent record over PSV while the Dutch side’s coach Huub Stevens has never won either as a player or coach in England.

Marseille will travel with some trepidation to Madrid to take on dark horses Atletico Madrid.

Chelsea will be hoping to sink their fangs into Cluj’s jugular when they travel to Transylvania — the land of horror story icon Dracula.

Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari warned fans not to expect the samba style just yet after the London all-stars were made to battle for a 2-0 win over Stoke on Saturday — and it will be no different against the Romanians.

Cluj inflicted one of shocks of the first round by humbling Roma with the help of a double from Argentinian Juan Culio.

Chelsea may have hit Bordeaux for four the same night, but Cluj — who won their first championship last season — appear likely to pose more problems as Scolari admitted.

“The Bordeaux game was a good experience for us but the game against Cluj will be different,” he said. “If Cluj can win away from home [like they did at Roma] then we are in danger.”

Liverpool go into today’s tie away to PSV Eindhoven full of confidence. Rafa Benitez will hand Ryan Babel a star role as the Dutch international faces a side he first played against as an Ajax player.

“Our view of Ryan is a player who starts games and has an impact from the beginning, not just as a sub,” Benitez told the club’s Web site on Monday. However, the man that PSV should really be wary of is Fernando Torres as he showed a return to goalscoring form with a double at the weekend in the Liverpool derby victory over Everton.

Torres had appeared to be suffering something of a hangover from his efforts in Spain’s triumphant Euro 2008 campaign but he looked back to his best as he claimed both goals in the derby win over Everton at the weekend.

“Fernando is the kind of player who can change games and it is very positive for us that he has confidence now,” Benitez said.

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