The luxury of having nothing to play for in Istanbul, in stark contrast to the European Cup on his last visit, will reveal a hitherto hidden sentimental streak in Rafael Benitez next month when he hands Jerzy Dudek a rare start in the stadium where the Poland international secured his place in Liverpool folklore.
With victory over PSV Eindhoven sealing first place in Group C Liverpool can head for the Ataturk Stadium, the home of Galatasaray and scene of their Champions' League triumph in 2005, on a nostalgia trip. As such, the emphasis will be on youth and rotation for the Liverpool manager, although he will also use the relaxed occasion to reward Dudek for his professionalism since losing his place to Jose Reina.
In what is sure to be the goalkeeper's final season at the club Benitez has warmed to the idea of offering him a fitting farewell. "He's a very good goalkeeper and a great professional," said the Spaniard.
Xabi Alonso, Mark Gonzalez and Jermaine Pennant are all expected to miss tomorrow's game with Manchester City through injuries sustained against PSV. Meanwhile, a verdict is expected on an assault charge against striker Craig Bellamy at Cardiff Magistrates Court today.Reuse content