On paper this was set to be Liverpool’s hardest game of the group. That was when we had a fully fit squad too.
Liverpool take on Lyon at the Stade Garland staring at an exit from the Champions League. Ligue 1 leaders Lyon are top of Group E having amassed 9 points from their three games. Their injury time victory over Liverpool at Anfield has increased the pressure on the reds to qualify. Liverpool’s squad is severely depleted – hit by one of the biggest injury crisis in 15 years. The reds received special dispensation to add a player to the European squad. If Liverpool can’t overcome Lyon then all hopes will be on Debrecen getting a result
Lyon played the reds for the first time a fortnight ago. Despite the reds taking a 1-0 lead, a late double from Lyon ensured they stayed at the top of Group E and look set to be the first team to qualify from Group E.
Injuries and Suspensions
This may take some time.
Liverpool received allowances to introduce Daniel Ayala in to the Liverpool squad due to a crippling set of injuries. Liverpool have a 28 man squad for the Champions League but such was the level of injuries that they would not have been able to field an 18 man team. In any case – it is likely that unfit players will be involved in both the starting XI and on the bench tonight.
Steven Gerrard, Glen Johnson and Fabio Aurelio are all definitely out.
Daniel Agger is suffering with a back injury that meant he had to stand up during the flight over to France. His involvement is doubtful and if he does play he will be under a heavy dose of painkillers.
Skrtel is also set to be unavailable and Dossena is recovering from a muscle injury and is a doubt. Martin Kelly, a potential deputy for Johnson, is also still injured from his exertions against Lyon at home.
Albert Riera is also out with a hamstring injury. Cavalieri, the reserve keeper, is also a doubt.
The good(ish) news: Alberto Aquilani (virus) and Fernando Torres (hernia) are both in contention to start for the reds. Neither is 100% fit. Aquilani has never played a full game for Liverpool and Torres is suffering with a hernia which is being treated non-surgically with a band. Liverpool hope to avoid surgery on the player but it is unlikely either will play the full 90 minutes.
Liverpool have won only one of their three games in the Group stage so far. Liverpool’s victory over Manchester United was followed by defeat at Arsenal in the League Cup and a 3-1 defeat at Fulham away at the weekend which saw Liverpool end with 9 players on the field.
Possible starting XI – Reina, Carragher, Ayala, Kyrgiakos, Insua, Babel, Lucas, Mascherano, Kuyt, Benayoun, Torres
It will be all over by half time. Possibly.
Lyon 0-4 Liverpool