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Mark Lawrenson: STILL A CHANCE FOR EURO DREAM.

Byline: Mark Lawrenson

LIVERPOOL can still win the Champions League.

Despite the humbling double defeat by Valencia, it is worth bearing in mind that the Reds are still in the competition and will, I believe, qualify for the next stage.

OK, so Gerard Houllier's men were kept at arm's length in midweek, but let's not forget that Valencia are the champions of the best league in Europe.

They are just the kind of top-class outfit Liverpool are still aspiring to be.

For Houllier to say sometimes you have to hold your hands up and admit the best team won was very honest, but he will know that there is a long way still to go in the competition.

On top of that it is worth remembering that while no-one would argue that Real Madrid and, for the moment, Valencia are above Liverpool, it is not always the best team that wins the tournament.

Come the home and away knock-out stages I would put Liverpool up against anyone in Europe without fear, knowing they had it in them to get a result.

That is why I believe they will get whatever they need to in Switzerland - be that a draw or a win.

If they do need a point, then they should remember the best way to get one is to go for a win instead of sitting back and hoping to nick a goal.

Whoever you play, if you allow the opposition to build up momentum at home, then it is hard to turn that tide.

However if you ask them questions from the start you stand a better chance of gaining the whip hand.

Whenever you are beaten, managers will always look for the positives and for Liverpool, Djimi Traore was a big plus point against Valencia.

He was always a square peg in a round hole at left-back, but in his natural position the young Frenchman is blossoming.

If he continues to improve and play well, then Houllier will have an interesting decision to make when Stephane Henchoz returns to full fitness.

If Traore continues to impress, then I would leave Henchoz out. That is what having competition for places is all about and Stephane is enough of a professional to understand that.

The way it looks at the moment, Houllier could probably play himself at centre-back against West Ham and the Reds would still win.

The Hammers are in a real slump and I know Trevor Brooking, who will be in the director's box at Anfield to support his beloved team, is not feeling entirely positive.

He has good reason not to, because Liverpool will win comfortably and bounce back from their European disappointment.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 2, 2002
Words:447
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