Champions League: Liverpool faces elimination

The group stage of the UEFA Champions League concludes over the next two days. There should be several crackerjack matches to watch.

Liverpool fans have justified their squad's lousy form in the Champions League by insisting that Rafa Benitez's team has been focused on winning the EPL title. But after Saturday's drubbing by Reading, they're now sitting

seven points behind

Arsenal, and that excuse is sounding rather silly. Liverpool has advanced to the final two of the the last three years, but they'll need to win on the road

against Marseille

just to guarantee a spot in the knockout stage (ESPN2, 1:30 CST).

In today's late game, Real Madrid will host Lazio (ESPN Classic, 4 CST). The Spanish league leaders need a draw to book a place in the next round. They survived a dust-up with Athletic Bilbao on Saturday, and look to be in fine form. Ruud van Nistlerooy has scored a remarkable 53 goals in 68 Champions League matches.

Tomorrow Lyon visit Rangers with a spot in the knockout stage on the line (ESPN2, 1:30 CST). The French side started miserably, losing their first two matches by a combined score of 6-0. But they've rallied to take seven points from their last three matches. Lyon need the away win to stay alive. Unfortunately American Damarcus Beasley won't suit up for Rangers for a long, long time after blowing out his knee last month.

The last match being televised in the U.S., Barcelona v. Stuttgart (ESPN Classic, 4 CST), is of zero consequence. The Spanish club has already won the group, while Stuttgart has been eliminated.

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