Liverpool won't relax despite lead

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Barcelona captain Carles Puyol said his team will have to play virtually the perfect game to overturn Liverpool's 2-1 advantage in the Champions League.

Updated: March 22, 2007 06:37 IST
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Barcelona captain Carles Puyol said his star-studded team will have to play virtually the perfect game to overturn Liverpool's 2-1 advantage in the Champions League. The last two winners of European soccer's most prestigious club title go head-to-head at Anfield on Tuesday and Liverpool can even afford to lose 1-0 and advance to the quarterfinal. That means Barcelona has to score at least two goals to silence Liverpool's noisy supporters and is likely to have Samuel Eto'o back alongside Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi in attack as it tries to hold onto its title. "We know we are going to have to play an almost perfect game in order to come away with the right result," Puyol said. "We've got to attack, the earlier we a get goal the better for us, but we can't go gung-ho and forget about defense. We've got a team full of dangerous forwards who hopefully can do some damage. We will be fighting to the death to get the right result." Both teams come off losses on Saturday, Liverpool losing to Manchester United 1-0 on a late goal in the Premier League and the Spanish champions going down to Sevilla to surrender its lead atop the standings. "We've got to try and ignore the result and start from 0-0 and try and get a result," Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard said. "It would be suicidal of us to go into the game overconfident and thinking that we've already got the job done because we've got a slight advantage. The players won't be doing that." Eto'o, Messi back Liverpool can lose 1-0 and still advance because of the two goals scored at Barcelona, but Barca will have forwards Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi available. "We're expecting Barcelona to be really explosive and put in a different performance to the form that they've been playing," Gerrard said. "Over the last couple of years they've been the best team in Europe so they deserve a lot of respect." Liverpool, which won its fifth European Cup two years ago, goes into the game with no new injury problems - only long-term casualties Harry Kewell and Luis Garcia are missing. Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez said his players have the ability to seize control of the second leg - even if the Spanish team opts for a 3-4-3 formation. "We know Barcelona are an attacking side, so (it's) nothing really new if they come out and attack us," Benitez said. "We know how important this game is for Barcelona just by their team selection the last couple of games, where they've been leaving star players out - the likes of (Lilian) Thuram, Deco and Eto'o." Barcelona rested Deco and Thuram for Saturday's game at Sevilla. Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard has to decide whether to gamble on the match fitness of Eto'o, who was sidelined for five months after a serious knee injury and recently returned to action. But Rijkaard knows that his team needs to score at least two goals at Anfield, although Reading and Arsenal - twice - have managed that this season. The Gunners won 3-1 in the FA Cup and beat Liverpool 6-3 in the League Cup.

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