Injury-hit Liverpool enter Lyon’s den
Lyon captain Cris downplayed Liverpool's injury crisis prior to their Champions League meeting on Wednesday, which could send the French side into the next round and the five-time champions out.india Updated: Nov 03, 2009 22:52 IST
Lyon captain Cris downplayed Liverpool's injury crisis prior to their Champions League meeting on Wednesday, which could send the French side into the next round and the five-time champions out.
Liverpool trail Lyon by six points in Group E and will be on the brink of elimination from the competition if they lose at Stade Gerland and Fiorentina defeat Hungarian outsiders Debrecen in Tuscany.
The English giants crashed to their fifth league defeat in 11 matches when they went down 3-1 at Fulham on Saturday and they could be without up to 12 players through injury against Lyon.
Talismanic captain Steven Gerrard has already been ruled out with a groin injury and Spanish international striker Fernando Torres is short of full fitness.
Cris, however, says his side cannot afford to pay attention to the speculation concerning the kind of team that Reds coach Rafael Benitez will be able to send out.
“Liverpool will give everything to stay alive in the Champions League, whether it's with Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres or without them,” said Cris, who inherited the captain's armband after former skipper Sidney Govou was punished for an unauthorised night out.
A draw will send Lyon through to the knockout phase and Cris is well aware that Lyon have not qualified for the next round with such ease since the Gerard Houllier era between 2005 and 2007, when they twice made the quarter-finals.
“At that time the team was already established whereas today it's still developing,” said the Brazilian centreback.
“It's very different. The first objective is qualification. Then we'll be able to go after first place.”
Benitez hopes that 20 million-pound summer signing Alberto Aquilani will be available after overcoming a virus, while
defenders Daniel Agger, Glen Johnson, Fabio Aurelio and striker David Ngog will undergo late fitness tests.
Lyon's injury picture is far less troublesome, although defender Anthony Reveilleire is a doubt after picking up a calf injury prior to kick-off against Saint-Etienne. Central defenders Mathieu Bodmer and Jean-Alain Boumsong are both also absent due to injury.
Barca’s Alves fit for Rubin encounter
Barcelona right-back Daniel Alves has shaken off a thigh injury more quickly than expected and is available for the holders’ Champions League Group F match at Rubin Kazan on Wednesday.
The pacy Brazilian damaged his right thigh muscle in a 2-1 home defeat by the Russian champions on October 20 but was given the all-clear on Monday, Barcelona said on the club website.
Pep Guardiola's side top the group on goal difference from Dynamo Kiev and Rubin, with all three clubs on four points. Inter Milan are bottom of the standings on three points.