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Liverpool in Champions League danger

Latest update : 2008-08-27

Liverpool is facing Belgium Standard Liege in an already decisive match for the UK's Reds in the Champions League qualifier after a disappointing 0-0 draw in Belgium. Reds coach Rafael Benitez is expecting his team to "move up a gear".

Manager Rafa Benitez said on Tuesday he was still waiting for Liverpool to move up a gear as they prepare for their crunch Champions League qualifier with Standard Liege.

Wednesday's game follows a disappointing 0-0 draw in Belgium two weeks ago and some mediocre form in the Premier League, where late goals have yielded two victories and masked some mediocre performances.

"We were scoring lots of goals in pre-season and the team was improving. It was really pleasing," Benitez told a news conference as he looked ahead to their third qualifying round second leg.

"I thought we were in a good moment but we didn't play well in our last three games. That was clear."

Liverpool had been expected to enjoy an easy passage to the lucrative group stage when the Champions League draw was made.

Though their indifferent form has since raised a few question marks ahead of the Anfield game, Benitez was is no mood for contemplating a shock exit for the five-times champions.

"If you are asking me if I am considering defeat then the answer is no," Benitez said. "I am only thinking about winning.

"They were good in the first game but we were really poor. If we improve and play at our level it will be difficult for them."

Looking on the bright side of their victories over Middlesbrough, on Saturday, and Sunderland, he added: "If we are winning games and not playing well, it means we should find it easier to win games when we do play well."

He was also defensive about the partnership between new striker Robbie Keane and Spaniard Fernando Torres.

"On Saturday, they were much better," Benitez said. "But the team wasn't good enough around them. But they showed they are playing together much better."

Date created : 2008-08-27