milan face red hot real

MILAN - AC Milan will be given a stark reminder of their current plight when they face former talisman Kaka in tomorrow's Champions League game at Real Madrid.

MILAN - AC Milan will be given a stark reminder of their current plight when they face former talisman Kaka in tomorrow's Champions League game at Real Madrid.

The clash between nine-time winners Real and seven-time champions Milan is the highlight of the third set of group games in which holders Barcelona also host Russia's Rubin Kazan.

Liverpool's home encounter with Olympique Lyon is another standout given the English side's recent poor form. Milan know exactly how Liverpool coach Rafael Benitez is feeling, having lurched from one setback to another both on and off the field since angering fans by selling Brazil's Kaka to Real in June.

The 1-0 home defeat by FC Zurich in their last Group C game was one of a string of bad results and despite Sunday's 2-1 win over AS Roma, rookie coach Leonardo remains under pressure.

"After Kaka's sale it's normal that there is a moment of adaptation, but it's not an excuse," Leonardo told reporters.

Kaka has said he will not celebrate if he scores against his former side, who won the 2007 trophy thanks in part to the playmaker's inspirational displays. The Brazilian will be even more centre stage because Cristiano Ronaldo is still out for Real with an ankle injury.

Today's focus will be on five-time winners Liverpool, beaten by Fiorentina in their previous Group E match and faring no better in the Premier League recently.

Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard were injured for Saturday's 1-0 loss at Sunderland where they conceded when a shot deflected in off a beach ball thrown from the crowd. "We'll see how they progress. They are improving but it's difficult to say if they can be available," Benitez said about the chances of his best two players facing pacesetters Lyon.

Fiorentina head to Hungary's Debrecen buoyed by Saturday's battling 1-1 Serie A draw at Juventus.

Juve have not won in five games in all competitions but will expect to break the sequence in tomorrow's Group A match with Maccabi Haifa in Turin.

Bayern Munich and Girondins Bordeaux meet in France.

Also tomorrow, 2008 winners Manchester United travel to CSKA Moscow with striker Wayne Rooney a doubt while VfL Wolfsburg host Besiktas in the other Group B game. - Reuters

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