Javier Mascherano has jumped to boss Rafael Benitez's defence by demanding that Liverpool's stars take responsibility for the club's current crisis.
The home Champions League defeat by Lyon on Tuesday has put Liverpool in grave danger of failing to qualify for the last 16. A sixth defeat in all competitions this term also underlines the desperate run of form that has already damaged their Barclays Premier League dreams, perhaps irrevocably.
"It is easy for everyone to blame the manager and not the players. But the truth is that it is us out there on the pitch, the players. If we play badly it is not the manager's fault, it is ours and we must take the responsibility," said Mascherano.
"The manager can tell us how to play but on the pitch it is down to the players. We need to keep going and to work harder.
"I do not believe that Sunday's league game with Manchester United will decide our season, but it is too early to say that. But for our confidence a win will be a massive boost.
"If we win on Sunday it will be a totally different Monday. We are not thinking about losing to United, we have done it before - twice last season - and we must do that again."
Liverpool were leading through a Yossi Benayoun first-half goal, before collapsing and conceding twice in the final 18 minutes through substitutes Maxime Gonalons and Cesar Delgado.
He added: "It is a must-win game now next in Lyon in a fortnight, a very important game for us. After the game the boss didn't talk too much, everyone was so disappointed.
"But we do need to review all the mistakes that we made, it is the players that made mistakes not the manager, so we must make sure we do not do the same things against United.
"It is a difficult situation, we have lost four in a row. But do not forget this a team who last season were doing very well, we must keep going and working. The team is not playing well, and a lot of players are not in the best form and we are losing confidence."
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