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Benitez unsure of Marseille's approach at Anfield

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez goes into Wednesday night's Champions League encounter with Villarreal pondering how the visitors will approach the game.

The French side travel to Anfield knowing they must win to stand any chance of making the knockout stages of the competition but could decide to look for the draw which could put them in a stronger position for a place in the UEFA Cup.

A draw should be enough to secure Liverpool's berth in the last 16 due to their 3-1 win over PSV Eindhoven on Matchday 2, coupled win the fact the Dutch side must win away to Atletico Madrid to stay in touch.

Benitez said: "Marseille are a good side. But it will be interesting to see how they approach the game. They have good players on the counter-attack, and they may sit deep and concede possession to us.

"But they have to win so they may be more attack-minded and really go for it. We will see very quickly how they intend to approach this game.

"This is different to last season in this competition. After losing at home to Marseille we had one point from three games and had to win everything else. We had to fight right to the end.

"The season before, we were already qualified when we went to Galatasaray for the last match, and we were able to use other players.

"The atmosphere was so different. If we can go to PSV Eindhoven next for our final group match with our place in the knock-out stage decided, we can use young players.''

Benitez, who will overtake Bill Shankly for the most European matches overseen by an Anfield manager by clocking up his 66th game, expressed hope that he would go on to double his tally.

"I am really proud to be in such a position so hopefully the next 66 games I will be here as well,'' he said. "This amount of European games is a good achievement for anyone, but especially when you are talking about a top side like Liverpool. That also means the team is doing well in Europe and that is very positive for the club.

"I am proud, but the game is more important. I do know the history and understand it.

"I can recall when I was at Madrid that Liverpool beat them 1-0 in the (1981) European Cup final. My friend was the goalkeeper and there were lot of former club-mates in that side, so from that long ago I have been affected by Liverpool results.

"So now to be here and to enjoy this club and the job I do is wonderful. But I must not let any personal thoughts distract me from this game.

"The Champions League is massive and we must progress. Hopefully we can make sure of our qualification in this match and then be able to concentrate on the Premier League.''


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