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By ESPN Staff

Real's Higuain turns focus to beating Liverpool

Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain is confident the in-form Spanish giants can build a first-leg advantage when they host Liverpool in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Madrid have been eliminated at the last-16 stage of the Champions League in each of the last four years but the team's impressive recent run of success has given hope to the Whites that they can end that sequence against Liverpool.

Last night's 6-1 home win over Real Betis was Madrid's ninth consecutive victory and also allowed them to cut the lead to Primera Liga pacesetters Barcelona to seven points, with Pep Guardiola's side surprisingly losing at home to Espanyol.

Higuain, who opened the floodgates against Betis with his 14th goal of the season, was keen not to dwell on that win though and quickly set his sights on the upcoming visit of Liverpool - a game he is convinced Madrid will win.

''Now, after this win, we have to focus on the next game. Now it's the Champions League and we have to continue like this,'' he said.

''It's pleasing to cut the distance to the leaders, but we shouldn't think about this, we have to think about ourselves and look to continue our run of victories.

''We have to continue like that and remain strong mentally because there are some very important games coming up, the first of which is against Liverpool.

''Wednesday's game is another 'final'. It's going to be a very tough game against a very accomplished team who do very well in these sorts of ties.

''But Madrid are Madrid and this is always a bonus for us. We are going to work as hard as we can and we hope to pick up a positive result to take into the second leg.

''Fans need to come and support us. We're going to give everything on the pitch and I'm sure that we are going to give them a victory against Liverpool.''

Madrid defender Pepe added on his club's website: ''Liverpool shouldn't fear us, only respect us, the same as we have to do with them.

''On Wednesday we will have home advantage - this is important and we have to make the most of it.

''We have to play the match with determination. I would settle for half the goals we scored here (against Betis), but it's going to be a different game. I hope that things go well.''

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