Valbuena has warning for Marseilles

Click to follow
The Independent Football

The Marseilles midfielder Mathieu Valbuena has warned his team-mates that Liverpool will be a far tougher proposition in tomorrow's crucial Champions League match than in their first meeting.

Valbuena's match-winning goal when the teams met at Anfield means that Liverpool must win at the Stade Velodrome to pip the French side to a place in the knock-out stages. But Valbuena, speaking after Saturday's 2-0 win over Monaco, believes Rafael Benitez's side will be a sterner proposition. "On Tuesday we have a very important opportunity for the club," he said. "We know how talented Liverpool are we caught them cold. They are not going to come in the state they were for the first match when they underestimated us a little. They are confident and we will be vigilant and will have to play at an intense pace."

The Rangers manager, Walter Smith, meanwhile, has been warned by his Lyons counterpart not to read too much into his French spying mission. Smith flew to France with coaching assistants Ally McCoist and Kenny McDowall to watch their Champions League rivals lose 1-0 at Caen.

Rangers got yesterday's game against Gretna postponed while a similar request by Lyon over their trip to Normandy on Saturday night was rejected. The Lyons manager, Alain Perrin, left out Italian World Cup winner Fabio Grosso and restricted key players Juninho and Sidney Govou to second-half appearances.

Perrin believes his players were distracted by Wednesday's Champions League decider at Ibrox as the Ligue 1 leaders slumped to a surprise defeat.

Perrin said: "We met a more willing, determined and enthusiastic team than ourselves. I am sorry we could not be at the necessary level to compete with them. The match in Glasgow was weighing on the minds of many."

Internazionale crushed Torino 4-0 at home yesterday to stretch their lead at the top of Serie A to five points.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic put the champions ahead with a penalty in the 38th minute, while Julio Cruz, Luis Jimenez and Ivan Cordoba completed the rout in the second half. The champions have 37 points from 15 games, while second-placed Roma have 32.

Comments