Friday, October 23, 2009

Liverpool lose to Lyon, staring at European exit

Liverpool are running out of players, energy and ideas. The pressure certainly mounted on Rafa Benitez on Wednesday night when his team succumbed to modest French visitors, and a brief chorus of disapproval greeted his controversial decision to substitute their best player, Yossi Benayoun.

Having given Liverpool the lead, Benayoun was outstanding yet Lyon fought back, levelling through Maxine Gonalons and then, following Benayoun’s withdrawal, Cesar Delgado swooped in injury time to make it Liverpool's worst run since 1987. Next up? Manchester United.

This had been a game that Liverpool could not afford to lose, that had the Kop standing nervously as the game unfolded, their mood darkening after 25 minutes when Gerrard’s groin injury returned, lifting only when Benayoun struck four minutes from the break.As Liverpool’s captain sloped down the tunnel for immediate medical attention, Benitez’s faith in his lesser lights was put to the test.Mayhem ruled. Liverpool’s marking was shocking, allowing Lyons three uncontested attempts at goal. Only Reina delayed the inevitable, saving from Toulalan, then Govou before Maxime Gonalons made it third time lucky for Lyons with a header that arrowed into Liverpool’s net and hearts.Benitez gambled, removing Benayoun, precipitating those boos as Andrei Voronin came on. And when Delgado stroked home Lyons’ winner in stoppage time, the dissent continued.


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