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Lyon 1, Liverpool FC 1: Reds' European hopes on the brink
Published : 05 Nov 2009 05:00:00
Liverpool FC's hopes of remaining amongst Europe's elite are now on the brink following Lyon draw STADIUM announcers are not renowned for making statements of great resonance but the man whose duty it was warm the crowd up here last night did just that 'The UEFA Champions League gives us the opportunity to see the best teams in Europe,' he proclaimed, shortly before the teams from Lyon and Liverpool marched out on to Stade de Gerland. Though there was nothing revelatory about those words, they should strike a chord with those Liverpudlians who are trying to search for positives after this tumultuous campaign took another dramatic twist. We should have been chronicling on these pages today how ironic it was that in the city which is home to the headquarters of Interpol, Liverpool launched the first part of what they hoped would culminate in another great escape. Instead their presence in the Champions League is in the gravest danger after another Lyon late show left them on the brink of elimination. Should Fiorentina beat Lyon on match-day five, nothing Liverpool do in Budapest against Debrecen will be good enough to save them and that, gallingly, will consign them to the Europa League in the New Year. It just goes to show progress in this prestigious, lucrative tournament can never be taken for granted; some may have become blasé about playing the likes of Real Madrid and Inter but this impending calamity will jolt them into life. But it should have been so different. Having taken a gamble on Fernando Torres' fitness, Rafa Benitez deserved better than to see his patched-up, diligent squad get floored in such dramatic circumstances. From the first whistle it was clear to see Torres was severely restricted, every sudden sprint or move left him rubbing his side, while there were occasions when it was palpably obvious that even trying to control the ball was a huge effort.