Lyon v Liverpool preview

04 November 2009 09:39
// A bit of a hack but it works// The article snippet is wrapped onto a second line, even when #article-sub is emptyif( $("div#article-sub").children().length == 0 ) {$("div#article-sub").remove();} Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez's perfected pokerface may not admit it, but Wednesday's UEFA Champions League game in Lyon is more than likely to prove decisive in his club's season and the long-term future.

With the Reds having secured only three points from as many games so far in Group E, defeat at Stade Gerland would all-but end their participation in the current campaign's competition.

Under-pressure Benitez acknowledges that his side need to repeat their heroics from 2007/08, when a hat-trick of wins were secured from their last three group stage outings, including an inspiring 4-0 away win over French side Marseille.

But the Spaniard, whose job security has been questioned after six defeats in seven games at home and abroad, has refrained from elaborating on the potential repercussions of a possible defeat in the Rhone-Alpes region of France.

In contrast, Lyon have made light work of the group and Claude Puel's side need only a draw against the 2005 tournament winners to join the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, Porto and domestic rivals Bordeaux in the knockout stages.

Puel insists his side "do not know how" to play for a draw, but he is also wary of Liverpool's European pedigree and recognises that Benitez's side remain a threat when in a tight situation.

ConfidentBut he is also confident his players, who sit second in Ligue 1, can progress after silencing Anfield a fortnight ago as they came from a goal down to record a 2-1 win in front of The Kop.

Puel has promised to field a strong side, but Anderson, former Newcastle defender Jean-Alain Boumsong, Mathieu Bodmer and Francois Clerc are all unavailable due to injury. Anthony Reveillere is a doubt after sustaining a groin problem.

Liverpool's fitness struggles have been much publicised as Benitez has pointed out that football has a habit of kicking you when you are down, with injuries and a virus sweeping the Premier League side's squad

Captain Steven Gerrard has not travelled to France as speculation continues to suggest the England star will require an operation on the groin complaint suffered against Ukraine.

Martin Kelly (ankle), Martin Skrtel (muscle), Glen Johnson (calf), Fabio Aurelio (calf) are out, creating a defensive headache, while winger Albert Riera (hamstring) is unavailable.

It has yet to be confirmed whether Fernando Torres will play. The Spain striker has flown to France and may be nursed through the game, but rumours imply that he will also eventually require surgery on a groin injury.

Big-money summer signing Alberto Aquilani may feature as he recovers from illness, and Liverpool also have their fingers crossed regarding Daniel Agger (back) and David Ngog (ankle).

Source: SKY_Sports