Vol. 5 Num 263 Tue. February 22, 2005  

UEFA Champs League

Evenly matched contests

England's bitter rivalry with Germany takes centre stage as Liverpool entertain Bayer Leverkusen, the team who knocked the Anfield giants out in the quarter-finals three years ago.

In the Netherlands, PSV Eindhoven face last year's runners-up Monaco.

At Anfield, influential midfielder Steven Gerrard admits he is shattered to be missing out on the first leg with Leverkusen due to suspension.

"It's a massive frustration for me. Hopefully the lads can pull a result out of the bag and keep me involved for the second leg," said Gerrard.

"The Champions League is massive for us. It's important that we stay in for as long as possible, not only for financial reasons but also because our league form has been so up and down."

The Reds skipper firmly believes an English side can win the Champions League this season.

"The fact that no English side has won it since Man United in 1999 just goes to show how difficult it is to win, but the English sides are getting a lot stronger."

A 1-1 home draw with PSV Eindhoven effectively guaranteed Monaco a place in the knockout stages of the Champions League last season as they eventually went all the way to the final where they lost to Porto.

They had lost to the French league side 2-1 at home in the opening match last season when Fernando Morientes and Edouard Cisse scored for Didier Deschamps' side with Wilfried Bouma replying for PSV.

PSV are coached by Guus Hiddink who took South Korea to the World Cup semi-finals in 2002. Hiddink watched Monaco draw 1-1 with Lyon in the French league on Friday and said: "I was impressed with Monaco's well-oiled machine."