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Stuart Dalgleish 23rd Nov 2009 - 21:45

Out of their hands... Liverpool's Champions League future

That's the situation for Liverpool as they head to Hungary for a win-at-all-costs game against Debrecen in the Champions League.

Such is the plight that Liverpool find themselves in at the minute, both at home and abroad, they need favours from other teams to ensure their progress to the knockout stages of Europe's premier club competition.

In fact Liverpool could absolutely hammer Debrecen AND Fiorentina in their next two group games and it wouldn't matter one jot - if the Viola defeat Lyon in Florence the Scousers are out.

The way things are going for Liverpool though you have to think that a victory in Debrecen is far from a formality, the Reds have only won once in 10 games and are letting in goals in a most non-Liverpool way.

Five from four games in the Champions League, and 20 from 12 matches in the Premier League, it's a far cry from last season when they only conceded 27 in 38 league games en-route to finishing second.

If Rafael Benitez's team can cut-out their defensive frailties then you think almost certainly they'll be a threat in this competition as they know how to win when it gets to the business end of tournaments, but because of their slow start it looks like they're only going to be a threat in the Europa League.

The good news for Benitez is that Steven Gerrard (4/1 to get the first of the game, evens to score at any time of the match) is back to full fitness, and when Liverpool are up against it, particularly in Europe, the skipper stands up and makes himself be counted - but do any of his team-mates have it in them to pull the Reds though the mire?

If they do the 2/7 available on them will look an absolute steal, Liverpool minus a goal in one of our many handicap markets is also worth consideration at 10/11 - they simply have no option but to attack so there's worse bets to be had that's for sure. The hosts are a huge 7/1 to claim a famous win, while the draw, which is of no use whatsoever to Pool, is 7/2.

Without Torres upfront, Liverpool are likely to hand another start to young forward David Ngog (9/2 to grab the opener, 6/5 to score at anytime of the match), the Frenchman has performed well when called upon so far this season and is likely to see plenty of the ball playing just ahead of Gerrard - with four goals from four starts he'll fancy his chances of making it a high five.

Debrecen have little but pride to play for as they are bottom of the group, having lost all four games, however they have won back-to-back league fixtures and pose a threat upfront - Adamo Coulibaly (10/1 first, 7/2 any) has scored two from four CL games, while Gergely Rudolf (10/1 to bag the opener, 7/2 to score at any point of the match) has notched two out of three group matches so far.

Liverpool have to hope that they have a quiet night, and Fiorentina's forwards also have an off day or else the 2005 champions are out.



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