Blues' day of destiny
BY 5.55pm today Ipswich Town will know if they are still a Premier League club.There is only one permutation for survival. George Burley's side must beat Liverpool at Anfield and Derby have to defeat Sunderland for the Blues to stay in the Premiership.
BY 5.55pm today Ipswich Town will know if they are still a Premier League club.
There is only one permutation for survival. George Burley's side must beat Liverpool at Anfield and Derby have to defeat Sunderland for the Blues to stay in the Premiership.
Blues skipper Matt Holland has warned Ipswich must play their part before looking at Sunderland's result.
There would be nothing worse for the Blues than to traipse off at Anfield without winning and hearing Derby have beaten Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
Holland said: "We have to do our bit. We can't worry about what is going on elsewhere. We have to win at Anfield and hope Derby do us a favour."
Liverpool will be looking for a win to ensure they clinch second place and an automatic place into the Champions' League group stage and leave their rivals Manchester United in third, needing to play an extra qualifying round.
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Blues boss George Burley jacked up the pressure by accusing Liverpool of taking them too lightly by claiming they had already secured second and succeeded in winding up Gerard Houllier and his players.
The Reds' boss stormed: "George Burley seems to imply that someone in this club has said that Liverpool have finished second.
"The one thing about us is that we show respect. We never assume anything, never take anything for granted and we have always had respect for our opponents.
"Nobody in this club has said anything of the kind. It is true that we have put ourselves into a good position to finish second, that's what I said after the Blackburn game.
"I also said we deserved to finish second, if you take into account the run we have had.
"But we have never said that we have written Ipswich off. Either he is using twisted words or he is using one of these games to motivate his players by saying we said something that is not true.
"I can assure him nobody in this club would ever think of saying anything like that."
Liverpool will be without Chris Kirkland, Stephen Wright, Jari Litmanen and Patrik Berger through injury for a game that will see Gary McAllister making his last appearance in the squad before leaving to manage Coventry.
Ipswich's Hermann Hreidarsson has been given the all clear after a precautionary scan on his sore ankle and is expected to line up alongside Player of the Year Mark Venus, John McGreal and Titus Bramble at the back.
Even a point for Sunderland would render the result at Anfield meaningless for Town but The Rams are determined to go down fighting.
Derby have lost the last seven games, and defeat at Sunderland would equal the worst run in the club's history.
Manager John Gregory said: "We don't want to go out with a whimper. The players want to win this one for the club and for themselves — and we are also due to give our supporters something." Liverpool: Dudek, Carragher, Xavier, Henchoz, Hyypia, Riise, Gerrard, Murphy, Hamann, Berger, Barmby, McAllister, Smicer, Litmanen, Owen, Heskey, Arphexad.
Ipswich Town: Marshall, Bramble, Hreidarsson, Clapham, McGreal, Venus, Miller, Holland, M Bent, Stewart, Peralta, Reuser, Sereni, D Bent, Counago, Brown, Magilton, Armstrong, Naylor, Wilnis, Ambrose. Referee: Steve Dunn (Bristol)