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Reds must avoid defeat

Last updated: 23rd October 2007

Gerrard: must avoid disappointment in Istanbul
Going back to Istanbul will bring all of those wonderful memories from the 2005 final back to the players. Saying that though, it's always difficult playing there.

It's been a bit of a rollercoaster for Liverpool so far this season. Rafa's men made an unbelievable start and people were tipping them to win the Premier League, like myself.

Originally I had thought we would finish second this season but after the start we had I thought that this is the real thing.

But the wheels have come off slightly - not a crisis by any means. Too many draws in the Premier League and that defeat to Marseille!

I can understand rotation because I've been part of it but what I've been finding difficult is that Rafa has rotated his core players. Steven Gerrard, Dirk Kuyt, Fernando Torres and Daniel Agger seem to be the ones who are getting rotated all the time.

Those players should be playing week-in-week-out, without doubt. Why not just rest them for the Carling Cup?

Liverpool have lost momentum because those core players have been rested against Portsmouth, Birmingham and Tottenham - all games we drew. And we've lost that impact we had earlier in the season.

I thought Steven had his best game for weeks against Everton and to get taken off was quite extraordinary to say the least. Rafa is certainly his own man and he's proved it again.

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When the opposition go down to 10 men and you're looking to get a victory, Stevie Gerrard would be the most likely to get you that win. To keep two holding midfield players on the pitch, in Momo Sissoko and Javier Mascherano, was quite astonishing.

But I still have trust in Rafa, I think he's an absolutely top class manager but just think the team would benefit from having the core players, as I mentioned, playing almost all of the time.

Back on track

So Liverpool desperately need to get back on track in the Champions League having lost to Marseille. But this is a really difficult one to call.

What I would say is that Liverpool cannot afford to get beat.

They've got Porto and Besiktas to come at home so this is one of those games where if Liverpool lose it would be incredible. That would leave them with a single point.

On the other hand, a win would be fantastic and would put them back on course.

Going back to Istanbul will bring all of those wonderful memories from the 2005 final back to the players. Saying that though, it's always difficult playing there.

Besiktas will be difficult to break down and the crowd will be as hostile as ever. And Liverpool will be aware that they must not get beat.

They really didn't perform against Marseille last time out and now they have a bit of work to do in order to get through to the knock-out stages.

We should win it but it's important we come away with a point at the very least.

Thommo's call

DRAW: After a great win at the weekend against Everton they'll be going into this match on a high but it was a difficult game and would have taken a lot out of them. I can see this being a 1-1 draw.

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