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Ibrahim Afellay faces late fitness test (

2 apr 2007 - Source:

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PSV head coach Ronald Koeman announced at the pre-match press conference ahead of the PSV v Liverpool game that Ibrahim Afellay, who is celebrating his 21st birthday today, will face a late fitness tomorrow before the PSV coaching staff take a decision to include him in the starting line-up. The midfielder is troubled with a hamstring strain and will undergo an MRI scan this afternoon. Koeman also announced that PSV will be without injured defender Alex and Ivory Coast striker Koné. “We have a lot of physical problems and games like these against Liverpool really take it out of the players.”
“Afellay is a major doubt for tomorrow night’s game”, said Koeman at the Philips Stadium. The brand-new international is troubled with a hamstring problem. “It’s a nasty injury and we shouldn’t take any risks at this stage of the campaign. He will undergo an MRI scan; we hope he hasn’t sustained a tear. Tomorrow we will take a decision.” In spite if PSV’ recent poor run in the Dutch league, Koeman fully focuses on the double meeting with Liverpool in the quarter-finals of the prestigious tournament. “I think we should be proud of having reached the quarter-finals. We must forget our domestic problems and turn our attention to the European game. We have proved before we are hard to beat in a double meeting. We must be in-form, which we are not, and put in convincing displays in order to progress to the next stage. But football is a funny game and anything may happen. Liverpool are favourites and are generally expected to comfortably see us off, but I beg to differ. We will be highly motivated to do well in the Champions League. Eight teams in Europe have remained to contest the quarter finals and PSV are one of them. We have defeated Arsenal in the last round, so we are really looking forward to tomorrow night’s game.” PSV’s Australian midfielder Jason Culina also reviewed the game at the press conference. “The Champions League is a different competition. There's no point dwelling on what happened. We must switch over and exclusively focus on the game. Of course we miss a few key players, but we are ready for the game. Liverpool have enough quality and players with experience, but so have we. We will give our all. We realise what is at stake and are looking forward to the Liverpool game”, said Culina, who admitted that it has been a long and tough season for PSV. “We are dealing with a congested fixture list, but playing for a top club implies things will always be hectic.”
141 journalists and 88 photographers have been accredited for the PSV v Liverpool tie. The Dutch national broadcasting corporation will provide live-coverage and the game will be broadcast in 27 countries. Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez will conduct his press conference at the Philips Stadium at 19:30 local time. Media representatives will be allowed to see the first fifteen minutes of Liverpool’s training session, after which Benitez’ team will continue behind closed doors. PSV v Liverpool will be kicked off at 20:45, which is 1945 BST.