Football: Reds are rising insists Evans

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LIVERPOOL BELIEVE they can see off struggling Valencia and fight their way out of a run of dire form that is destroying their title chances.

Although they gained two victories over a limited Kosice side, Liverpool have failed to win in five League matches and seen their championship charge falter. But, against an erratic Valencia side in the Uefa Cup second round first leg at Anfield, Liverpool's joint manager, Roy Evans, believes the much criticised Reds are on the brink of turning the corner.

They face Valencia, who are 16th in the Spanish Primera Division and have lost four of six league games this term, without Jamie Redknapp, who has had a groin problem, while the England Under-21 defender Jamie Carragher has only a 50-50 chance of recovering from a hip injury picked up in the bruising Mersey derby with Everton on Saturday. That could let Dominic Matteo and Jason McAteer into the side.

Evans said: "We would like to be higher in the table but we are starting to get it together. The team spirit and determination is there and, with a bit more luck in front of goal, we will be back on track."

Liverpool sent their coach Patrice Bergues to watch Valencia lose 2-0 away to Athletic Bilbao on Saturday, and his report suggests that the Spaniards can be exposed at the back, where Spain's first-choice goalkeeper, Santiago Canizares, has made a series of recent blunders.

Valencia also have the Frenchman Alain Roche, who has faced Liverpool before in European competition, in their side, while the former Rangers defender Joachim Bjorklund has arrived from the Italian club, Vicenza. The Swedish midfielder Stefan Schwarz, once of Arsenal, is suspended.

Another Frenchman, Jocelyn Angloma, is injured, but up front the Romanian World Cup striker Adrian Ilie has formed a potent striking partnership with the Argentinian international Claudio Lopez.