Thursday, November 5, 2009

Puel makes Liverpool promise


Lyon coach Claude Puel says they will be doing their all to beat Fiorentina, despite already booking their place in the last 16 of the Champions League.

The Reds' bid to progress is out of their hands after Lisandro Lopez's late goal denied the English side all three points in France on Wednesday night.

Rafael Benitez's men need results to go their way if they are to have any chance of progressing as a win for Fiorentina against Lyon next time out would dump the Merseysiders out of the competition.

However, Puel has vowed Lyon will do their best to help Liverpool's cause by trying to beat Fiorentina in Florence later this month.

"We will play fair, we want to win the group and avoid getting a tougher draw in the next stage," said Puel.

"Liverpool have no need to fear what may happen.

"We will play to win the game and that will leave the situation in Liverpool's hands to win their last two games and go through themselves."

Benitez: I don't fear for my job


Rafael Benitez insists he does not fear for his job even though Liverpool now need a miracle to reach the last 16 of the Champions League.

The Liverpool boss had seen victory snatched from his team by Lyon, who equalised through Lisandro Lopez in the dying seconds of their Group E clash at the Stade Gerland on Wednesday night.

Ryan Babel had fired Liverpool ahead with just seven minutes to go, but they still left with a 1-1 draw despite a vastly improved performance.

Liverpool now must rely on Lyon winning away to Fiorentina in their next match, and hope they will still have their destiny in their own hands in their final group matches against Debrecen and the Florence club.

Benitez's own position has been under threat during Liverpool's recent horror run, but when asked if he feared for his job, the Spaniard was quick to respond.

"No, I am only thinking about the next game, nothing else," he said.

Benitez, who also revealed that striker Fernando Torres played through the pain barrier for the 87 minutes he was on the pitch, remains hopeful his side can still progress even though the odds are stacked against them.

He said: "We have to be really disappointed, we had so many chances and we were almost there.

"But again it was a late goal by Lyon, and it is a massive difference for us.

"Clearly it is difficult now, but not impossible. We have to win our next game in Debrecen and wait to see what the result is between Fiorentina and Lyon.

"We have to keep going and try to win. We have achieved miracles before and we can do it again."

On his own feelings and the pressure he is under, Benitez said: "It is simple for me to keep my head high, and that is by watching the players on the pitch and see their performances. Hearing the fans singing after the game because they know that we are improving and getting better.

"But football is like this, sometimes you have to have some luck and we did not have any luck at the end of the match.

"We were not caught out by them at the end, we were not caught on the break and had plenty of players in the box to defend.

"We just made a mistake, but not because we were thinking about attacking and caught out.

"I have not seen the replay so I do not know whether (Michel) Bastos was offside in the build-up to their equaliser. We just had to do better, we had too many players around the scorer and should have stopped him.

"It is something we have to improve on because it has happened before. When we are winning we have to close the game out and stop teams scoring against us at the end of matches, like Lyon have done in both games against us.

"We have to learn to keep the ball at times and be stronger in the challenge."

He added: "Torres was playing with pain, and that is not easy. He was inconsistent, he had to keep stopping and starting again because of the problem.

"He was playing with pain, hopefully he will now have some time for us to work with him and we will see how he progresses.

"The players must not give up hope, Lyon can win away to Fiorentina. We need to win against Debrecen and not talk too much about the other game.

"We must do our job properly first, then we will look at the other result. We will see what happens and hope to take it to the last game when we are at home to Fiorentina."

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