Football

Gerrard could miss crunch European tie

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Rafael Benitez is facing the very real prospect of trying to save Liverpool's European dream without Steven Gerrard.

The Liverpool boss was without his skipper at Fulham in the Barclays Premier League, and is seemingly clutching at straws that Gerrard will be available for Wednesday's Champions League trip to Lyon.

Benitez said: "I do not know yet whether Steven will play in Lyon, we must work with him. But it is true there is a problem."

Liverpool have lost back-to-back Group E matches to Fiorentina and the French club, and a victory in the Stade Gerland is now the only result that will realistically keep the Reds in with a chance of reaching the last 16.

With Fiorentina at home to Hungarian club Debrecen on Wednesday, having already won in Budapest convincingly against the group's bottom club, Liverpool know they are up against it if they want to snatch one of the two qualifying places.

Lose to Lyon and the French side will have 12 points to Liverpool's three. If Fiorentina win their match in Florence, they will have nine points.

And that will mean Liverpool are all but doomed with just two games left, with the top two sides being able to engineer a result when they meet in Florence on November 24 that will eliminate the Anfield club.

Benitez said: "We must win in Lyon. No matter what happens elsewhere, anything but a victory will leave us facing a really bad situation."

Gerrard is battling to overcome a groin injury, and is facing surgery if he fails to make the Lyon match.

Benitez added: "We do have a problem if he is not fit for Lyon, it is a crucial time. In three days we will maybe have a better idea. He is doing well, and maybe he could be available. But Glen Johnson will be out for five days with a calf tear, so he is a problem too."

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Topics:
European News
Fulham
Football
Glen Johnson
Premier League
UEFA Champions League
Steven Gerrard
Liverpool

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