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Hamburg preview

The despair following the Fulham defeat has made may for an air of bullish optimism ahead of th crucial esecond leg at home to Hamburg.

Shaun Wright-Phillips is the latest to talk up our chances, saying:
"All I'll say is that it's not over until the fat lady sings. It's not finished 'til the whole tie is done.

"We're recognised as being very good at home, and if we play the way we usually do, we will make enough chances to win 2-0. It's a matter of taking those chances on the night. We have to put them on the back foot straight away.

"Anything is possible. If we go out there and play the way we know we can on Thursday, it will be difficult for Hamburg. Everyone is confident, we've spoken about it already and we have got the belief that we need."

If you look at Liverpool's sterling (if ultimately in vain) effort at Chelsea in the Champions League as evidence a tie can be turned around then we are certainly still in with a shout. Of course it will be difficult and we cannot afford to cede possession and territory to Hamburg in the manner we did in the first leg.

Hamburg did suffer defeat in the league last weekend (as did we of course), but they certainly looked a capable side and have the potential to cause us problems, and talk of tiredness needs to be put to one side as I imagine we will need to keep the tempo and pace of the game high throughout the whole ninety minutes.

Team wise things are looking a little rosier and Shaun Wright-Phillips (ankle), Vincent Kompany and Wayne Bridge (hamstrings) should overcome injury problems and I would be amazed if Robinho's exile from the side is extended further.

As I posted in the aftermath of the defeat in Germany, I don't see how we keep a clean sheet which will make our efforts that much harded to have to score three rather than just two to advance to the semi-finals.

Can we do it? Of course we can. We are very much odds against and it is vital that we pick up some momentum early and run with it. A full house backing the side and a 1-0 lead at half-time could make things very interesting indeed.

Would it even be a surprise if the tie went to extra time?