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By ESPN Staff

Ferguson - Barca facing tough task

Sir Alex Ferguson has claimed Champions League holders Barcelona face a `near impossible' task to overhaul their first-leg deficit against Liverpool at Anfield next week.

Rafael Benitez's men stunned Barca in the Nou Camp, taking a 2-1 lead back to Merseyside despite falling behind early in the game.

Barcelona are still confident of getting through to the quarter-finals, yet Ferguson, whose Manchester United side visit Liverpool in the Barclays Premiership on Saturday, knows exactly how tough a task the Catalan giants face.

Liverpool have been virtually impregnable on home soil this term, with only Arsenal able to beat them in both domestic cup competitions.

And Ferguson feels Barcelona will find it incredibly difficult to avoid tumbling out of the competition and offering increased hope for the rest of the contenders for Europe's most prestigious club prize.

'If Barcelona win at Liverpool they will be favourites but they face an almost impossible task to win at Anfield,' Ferguson told Gazzetta dello Sport.

'If they are eliminated, all the rest of the teams, like AC Milan, Inter or ourselves, can point to the final.'

United must wait until Friday to discover whether UEFA will overturn their own first-leg win in Lille last week.

The French outfit are continuing to argue Ryan Giggs' controversial late winner should not have been allowed to stand, although it seems inconceivable the result will be overturned.

So, providing the Red Devils do not suffer an unexpected setback in the return encounter at Old Trafford on March 7, they will take their place in the last eight for the first time in four years. And Ferguson is confident United can go much further.

'A club like Manchester United must win more in Europe,' he said.

'Two Champions League titles is not enough. Look at Real Madrid, AC Milan, Liverpool and Bayern.

'But with Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick we have a team capable of returning to win the Champions League.'