Liverpool leads in quarterfinals

Liverpool is the only one of the eight teams in the Champions League quarterfinals that has a comfortable lead heading into the second leg.

updated: April 11, 2007 06:40 IST
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Liverpool is the only one of the eight teams in the Champions League quarterfinals that has a comfortable lead heading into the second leg.

The five-time European Cup champions beat PSV Eindhoven 3-0 last week and host the Dutch league leaders Wednesday at Anfield.

In the other quarterfinals, Valencia hosts Chelsea on Tuesday after a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge, AS Roma travels to Manchester United the same day with a 2-1 lead, and Bayern Munich hosts AC Milan on Wednesday after a 2-2 draw in the first leg.

Liverpool also has won two consecutive games in the Premier League, helping it move into third place.

"If we can win our next games and be sure of that, we can really concentrate on the Champions League," Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez said.

Liverpool needed special permission from UEFA to enter the 2005-06 Champions League as the defending champion because it finished fifth in the English league.

PSV, which again lost in the Dutch league on Saturday, has been struggling since defender Alex injured his hamstring on March 11 against Excelsior Rotterdam.

"We have failed to win an official game for the sixth successive time and what upset me most is that we were badly organized at some stages of the game," PSV coach Ronald Koeman said after the team's 2-1 loss to NEC Nijmegen.

The match in Manchester could be a fiery one , on and off the field. United has never advanced from the knockout stage of the Champions League after losing the first leg.

Roma reached the final in 1984, but lost to Liverpool on penalties. The Italian team warmed up with a 2-0 win over Catania in the Serie A on Saturday, with Mirko Vucinic scoring his second goal in four days.

Vucinic also scored the winner against United in Rome on Wednesday, a match that was marred by violence as Italian police in riot gear clashed with United fans in the stands. Three United fans were stabbed outside the stadium.

Roma captain Francesco Totti is expected to play after missing the Catania match with sciatic pain in his back.

United will be without midfielder Paul Scholes, who was sent off in 34th minute of the first leg with two yellow cards. Wayne Rooney, who scored his first European goal since 2004, will play again.

The Red Devils then lost to Portsmouth 2-1 in the Premier League on Saturday, including an embarrassing own-goal from defender Rio Ferdinand. That result allowed second-place Chelsea to move within three points of the leaders.

United is bidding for a repeat of its 1999 season when it won the English title, Champions League and FA Cup.

Chelsea is bidding to do the same, but it might find it harder to break down the disciplined Valencia at the Mestalla stadium. Valencia advanced to the semifinals by holding Inter Milan to a 0-0 draw at the Mestalla in the second leg, but defender Emiliano Moretti said his side would play to win.

Chelsea has never reached the final of the Champions League and if it eliminates Valencia, it could find itself playing Liverpool in the semifinals, a repeat of 2005, when the Reds went on to win the title.

Bayern Munich needed two late goals from Daniel van Buyten, one in injury-time, to earn the first leg draw at AC Milan.

"The chances are 55-45 in our favor," Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said.

Bayern won its 800th Bundesliga match with a mediocre performance Saturday, going down a goal before beating Hannover 96 2-1.

"If we want to advance against Milan, we will have to improve by 50 percent," Hitzfeld said.

Bayern rested Lukas Podolski, Lucio, Owen Hargreaves and Hasan Salihamidzic for the Hannover game. They should return for Wednesday.

AC Milan has injury concerns over striker Filippo Inzaghi, who missed the 3-1 win over Empoli in the Serie A with a left leg strain.

Milan captain Paolo Maldini and defender Alessandro Nesta and Massimo Oddo were rested for the Empoli match, in which defenders Kakha Kaladze and Serginho returned from injury.