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Juventus back Liverpool's Champions League bid

Alastair Himmer | June 02, 2005 11:41 IST

Juventus added their support on Wednesday to Liverpool's bid to defend their Champions League trophy next season.

Europe's governing body UEFA is under pressure to include Liverpool in next season's competition even though they failed to qualify after coming fifth in the English Premier League.

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"Liverpool won the European Cup and they should have the right to defend their trophy," Juventus coach Fabio Capello said after his team's 1-0 win over Japan's Yokohama F-Marinos.

"The champions should be involved but I think they should have to qualify like Brazil have to qualify for next year's World Cup."

Liverpool were crowned champions of Europe for the fifth time last week after staging a remarkable recovery from 3-0 down to beat AC Milan on penalties.

Pressure has mounted on UEFA since then after the G14, the grouping of elite European clubs, called for the Reds to be let into next season's Champions League.

Juventus playmaker Pavel Nedved also backed Liverpool, who knocked the Italian champions out of this season's competition at the quarter-final stage.

"Everyone wants to see how Liverpool go about defending the title," the Czech told reporters. "Everyone wants Liverpool to be in it and of course everyone wants to beat the defending champions."

Juventus captain Alessandro Del Piero added his support to Liverpool's bid for re-entry.

"In my opinion, Liverpool should be able to defend their cup," he said. "They must be let in."

The matter could be resolved by UEFA's 15-man executive committee at their meeting in Manchester on June 17.

UEFA president Lennart Johansson has voiced his support for Liverpool's inclusion.

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