Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Liverpool hit new low after late shocker

Sports - Football - Champions League - Liverpool 1:2 Lyon

Liverpool's nightmare run continues with their fourth consecutive defeat, their worst run in over 22 years. They fell to a late 2-1 shocker against Lyon in the Champions League Group E match at Anfield.

The Reds started without their main striker Fernando Torres and right-back Glen Johnson. Things went from bad to worse when skipper Steven Gerrard had to be taken off halfway through the first half due to a recurrence of his groin injury that kept him out of the 1-0 Premier League defeat against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

Liverpool enjoyed possession and control in the early stages of the match, creating pressure, but Lyon were the first to get a chance on target, Lisandro López heading the ball straight to Pepe Reina.

Both sides kept each other from taking advantage, leaving the match evenly poised, the Anfield crowd growing more anxious and nervous though after Gerrard's departure.

But Liverpool were rewarded eventually and their nerves eased when they finally broke the deadlock thanks to Yossi Benayoun who fired in Fabio Aurélio's cross/mis-cue. They kept the pressure up and running against Lyon in the second half, Dirk Kuyt pulling a great save out of Hugo Lloris (60).

However, on 72, they were made to pay for not consolidating the score and securing a win and three points when substitute Maxime Gonalons headed in the equaliser off a rebound after a brilliant double-save by Reina.

To complete the perfect nightmare for the Reds, an impressive Martin Kelly had to go off injured, Jamie Carragher filling his position at right-back. Cesar Delgado then stunned Anfield in the dying seconds by firing in Sidney Govou's cross, condemning Liverpool to yet another defeat with their Champions League hopes deminishing, down to third in Group E.

Manager Rafael Benítez blamed the injuries for the bad run, but that is a too easy excuse. Four out of their six defeats so far this season have come WITH their star players and most of the main squad available, which makes the situation the more worrying.

Liverpool's title hopes and chances, plus Benítez's job with it, hang on a very thin thread. It has been 56 years since Liverpool last lost five games in a row. And with Manchester United travelling to Anfield next weekend, the pressure of weight pulls that thin thread down even further.

Liverpool (4-2-3-1) Reina; Kelly (Skrtel 74), Agger, Carragher, Insúa; Mascherano, Lucas; Kuyt, Gerrard (Aurélio 25), Benayoun (Voronin 85); Ngog. Bookings Ngog 49. Subs not used Cavalieri, Plessis, Spearing, Babel.

Lyon (4-5-1) Lloris; Réveillère, Cris (Gonalons 43), Toulalan, Cissokho; Makoun, Pjanic, Källström, Govou, Ederson (Gomis 61); López (Delgado 86). Bookings Cris 34, Govou 55, Réveillère 13. Subs not used Vercoutre, Clerc, Bastos, Belfodil.

BBC stats
Liverpool- Lyon
Attempts: 12-12
On target: 6-6
Corners: 6-5
Free kicks: 7-11
Possession: 50%-50%

Sky Sports/Text stats:
Attempts: 12-15
On target: 5-7
Offsides: 1-3
Corners: 6-5
Free kicks: 8-12
Possession: 53%-47%
Passing Success: 70.9%-75.2%
Tackles/Success: 21/90.5%-19/89.5%
Territorial Advantage: 53.9%-46.1%

Referee: Undiano Mallenco
Man of the match: Sidney Govou

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