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Marseille seeks first French win at Liverpool

French teams have never won at Anfield, making Liverpool a tough place for Erik Gerets to start his Marseille coaching career on Wednesday.

Or maybe not.

Liverpool's only defeat in last year's Champions League group stage was inflicted by Galatasaray - then coached by none other than Gerets.

And Marseille secured a 1-1 draw on its last visit here in the 2004 UEFA Cup, before winning the second leg 2-1 at home.

Marseille tops Group A after beating Besiktas 2-1 but is struggling domestically with just one win in nine games, leading to Albert Emon being fired.

"We're obviously not taking it easy, but we're certainly not overawed," Marseille president Pape Diouf said. "It's the first match of a new era ... It's an important match for us, for the coach, and we have to remain optimistic."

Liverpool, which lost to AC Milan in last year's final, salvaged a 1-1 draw at FC Porto in its first game.

The visitors have inside knowledge of the Reds, courtesy of summer signings Djibril Cisse and Boudewijn Zenden.

"They're a team that are very well organized, very compact," said Dutch winger Zenden. "The defenders don't give an inch. They're fast and strong on the counterattack and from set pieces."

Cisse points to captain Steven Gerrard as posing the greatest threat.

"Gerrard is the best player in his position anywhere in the world - he is magnificent," the France striker said. "At times it seems like he can win a match all on his own.

"He has such ability to dominate a game, to turn a game around or run away with it."

Gerrard was involved in a car accident in a Liverpool suburb Monday in which a 10-year-old boy reportedly broke his leg. Gerrard stopped to comfort the youngster until an ambulance arrived, British news reports said Tuesday.

A Liverpool win would extend its unbeaten start in all competitions this season to a dozen matches, while goalkeeper Jose Reina can beat a 30-year club record if he keeps his sixth straight clean sheet, not counting penalties.

"We are very proud of that record, but we all defend together so it's everyone's record," Reina said. "We have only conceded from penalties so far, which is important. It is something we can be proud of but we must keep working in that way."

It's the 50th Champions League game for Benitez in his career at Liverpool (36 matches) and Valencia (14). Fernando Torres will likely play his first Champions League game for Liverpool, though the Spain striker is happy to adapt to his compatriot's policy of squad rotation.

"We as players have to adapt to systems rather than systems being adapted to suit the players," Torres said. "The players who do best are the ones who win a place. I like playing with pressure and responsibility. I'm used to it."

Liverpool will be without Jermaine Pennant, who is serving a one-match suspension for his red card in Portugal last month.

France midfielder Samir Nasri, Marseille's most dangerous player, is out with a viral infection.

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