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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Dec, 10, 2007

Marseille supremo calls for 'eruption'

Marseille president Pape Diouf hopes the special aura of a European night at the Stade Velodrome will be a decisive factor when the Mediterranean side take on Liverpool in tomorrow's Champions League Group A decider.

The Reds know all about the white-hot atmosphere at the Velodrome - they were dumped out of the UEFA Cup there in 2004 when a baying crowd helped OM overturn a one-goal deficit to carry the hosts into the competition's last eight.

There have been many more nights like that down the years and tomorrow's Group A showdown promises to be another to add to the list.

Liverpool need a win to guarantee progression out of what is proving a difficult group, while Marseille require just a draw.

Diouf believes Liverpool go into the match as favourites but he is confident the home crowd can help their team secure the result they need.

'We all know about Marseille and its attachment to the European Cup,' he said.

'We know the Velodrome is going to erupt, and the public will come with much hope to see their team qualify.

'We are against a European heavyweight, who remain favourites in this match.

'But it is difficult for opponents, even if some Liverpool players are talking about beating us, to come to the Velodrome on European nights.'

With the club rediscovering some form domestically over the past few weeks, Marseille's fans - who were heard jeering the team at the start of the season - have a reason to be more upbeat.

Last month, OM were stuck in Ligue 1's relegation zone but a run of three wins in four matches has allowed them to climb back towards mid-table.

Their latest victory came against Monaco on Saturday, and centre-back Julien Rodriguez hopes that result will be the catalyst to another success three days on.

'We are working hard in training and that is being transferred into matches,' said the former Rangers defender.

'At the moment, we have a good spirit in the squad and playing only with the thought of winning.

'It is great to be playing in these types of matches. The Velodrome will be full and if we qualify at the end of the evening, all the better for the squad and the fans.'

OM coach Eric Gerets claims he will make 'perhaps one change but no more' to his team for the Liverpool game.

That probably means the return of playmaker Samir Nasri, who has been out of action for a fortnight with ankle trouble.

The France international could come in for either Karim Ziani or former Liverpool player Boudewijn Zenden.

Nasri may not be at the peak of his physical fitness, but Gerets is loathe to go into a big game without him.

'He is a player that brings something magical to us,' said the Belgian.

'He knows how to provide the killer pass to set a player free on goal. We will look at him in training and see how he goes.'

Captain and central midfielder Lorik Cana received a knock to the ankle at the weekend, but Gerets said: 'He would have to have a broken leg for him not to play on Tuesday.'

Striker Djibril Cisse - who, like Zenden, left Anfield last summer for the south of France - will again have to be content with a place on the bench.

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