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EPL fab four seek knockout stages
Hamburg, NOV 3 (Agencies):
Published on 4 Nov. 2008 12:00 AM IST
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Holders Manchester United, finalists Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal can book early places in the European Champions League knockout stages this week if all goes well for the fab four from England. Liverpool and Arsenal need to rebound from Premier League setbacks and all four clubs need a little help from others to achieve their goal. On Tuesday, group A leaders Chelsea (seven points) visit Roma (three) and will qualify for the round of 16 with a victory and if Romania’s Cluj (four) beat Girondins Bordeaux (three) as well. Liverpool are through if they beat Atletico Madrid (both seven points) in a group D topper and if Olympique Marseille (zero) defeat PSV Eindhoven (three) as well. Atletico would also advance if they win at Anfield and Marseille succeed in the other game. The next day United (seven points) travel north to Scottish champions Celtic (one) and can qualify ahead of the final two rounds of group E with a victory of their own and if Villarreal (seven) win at Denmark’s Aalborg (one). In this scenario Villarreal would advance as well. Arsenal are also in action Wednesday, with the group G leaders (seven) seeking victory against Fenerbahce (one) and will be through if Dynamo Kiev (five) defeat Porto (three) as well. Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Sporting Lisbon and Juventus also have a chance of making the knockout stages this week. The 2005 winners and 2007 finalists Liverpool need to bounce back from their first defeat of the season at the weekend to Tottenham Hotspur, but manager Rafa Benitez could be boosted by the return of striker Fernando Torres from injury. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has a number of injury concerns going into his side’s match at home to Fenerbahce. The Gunners could be without Theo Walcott, Emmanuel Adebayor and Bacary Sagna, and need to pick themselves up after a shock defeat at lowly Stoke City. “It (the Fenerbahce game) is an opportunity to show how strong we are,” said Wenger, whose side beat Fenerbahce 5-2 in Turkey a fortnight ago. Chelsea travel to Roma on Tuesday fresh from a 5-0 hammering of Sunderland at the weekend. Didier Drogba is available again after injury, but manager Luiz Felipe Scolari said he would stick with Frenchman Nicolas Anelka, who scored a hat-trick at the weekend. Playing on Wednesday Anorthosis Famagusta vs Inter Milan Liverpool vs Atletico Madrid Werder Bremen vs Panathinaikos Barcelona vs Basle CFR Cluj-Napoca vs Bordeaux Sporting vs Shakhtar Donetsk Marseille vs PSV Stade Roma vs Chelsea Stadio Playing on Thursday BATE vs Zenit St Petersburg Celtic vs Man Utd Arsenal vs Fenerbahce Dynamo Kiev vs FC Porto Lyon vs Steaua Bucuresti Fiorentina vs Bayern Munich Real Madrid vs Juventus AaB vs Villarreal All matches start at 12:15 am (IST)

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