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Page last updated at 07:33 GMT, Monday, 15 September 2008 08:33 UK

Marseille boss fears English form

Venue: Stade Velodrome Date: Tuesday, 16 September Kick-off: 1945 BST Coverage: ITV1, BBC Sport website, BBC Radio Five Live

By Mandeep Sanghera

Marseille boss Eric Gerets
Gerets took over as coach of Marseille in 2007

Marseille coach Erik Gerets fears English clubs will again dominate the Champions League as he prepares his side to face Liverpool on Tuesday.

Liverpool were one of three Premier League clubs in the semi-finals last season, with Manchester United beating Chelsea in the final.

Gerets, who as a PSV Eindhoven player won the 1988 European Cup, told BBC Sport English clubs may excel again.

"I hope not but I'm afraid it will be. The English sides are strong," he said.

"If you look at the Premier League, the big clubs can put out two teams and maybe both can get into the Champions League.

"They have really fantastic players and teams at the moment."

Gerets envies the financial clout on offer to the English contingent and says he "can only dream to one day work in England and participate in this party".

And having lost Samir Nasri to Arsenal and Djibril Cisse to Sunderland during the summer, Gerets also believes the financial disparity with the Premier League is having an adverse effect on the French game.

"I'm afraid of the gap getting bigger and also every year good French players are leaving the country to go to England," explained the former Belgian international.

"If you see how many French players are playing in England at the moment and doing so well it means that our competition is poorer than it was two or three years ago."

He added: "I'm not saying it is bad for football. It is good for English football. In Spain it is the same.

"If you have the possibility then you should do it. I can tell you if I could buy five more players I would do it."

Gerets has turned round the fortunes of Marseille but knows reaching the knockout stages will be a tough task after again being drawn in the same group as Liverpool.

We have to win because afterwards we have two away games

Marseille coach Eric Gerets
Marseille shocked Liverpool with a 1-0 win at Anfield last season but were comprehensively beaten 4-0 in the reverse fixture when the Reds needed a victory in their final group game to reach the last 16.

Gerets has replaced Nasri and Cisse with Hatem Ben Arfa and Bakary Kone and hopes his side will be more of a threat this time around.

"We've bought some good offensive players and, hopefully, we can hurt them a little bit more than we did last season at home," he said.

"Normally we have good attacking players. We have already scored a lot of goals in the French championship so hopefully we can also be dangerous against Liverpool.

"With Kone and Ben Arfa we are as strong as last season. We wanted to attack last time but they were so strong here."

Liverpool go to France on the back of a 2-1 victory over Manchester United but Gerets added: "We have to win because afterwards we have two away games.

"If we go into them with a loss or draw it will not be that positive.

"If we can go with three points it will mean there will not be that much pressure."

Atletico Madrid and PSV Eindhoven, a club Gerets has also coached, complete Group D.

The Belgian's European Cup triumph as a player came in 1988 when PSV beat Benfica 6-5 on penalties.

see also
Marseille v Liverpool
15 Sep 08 |  Europe
Liverpool 2-1 Man Utd
13 Sep 08 |  Premier League
Nasri completes move to Arsenal
11 Jul 08 |  Arsenal
Kone completes Marseille move
21 Jul 08 |  African
Marseille 0-4 Liverpool
11 Dec 07 |  Europe
Liverpool 0-1 Marseille
03 Oct 07 |  Europe

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