Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez admits that his side now need a “miracle” if they are to qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League.
Speaking after Lisandro Lopez’s late goal for Lyon denied Liverpool all three points in the Stade de Gerland on Wednesday night, the Spaniard acknowledged that Liverpool’s hopes were now hanging by a thread.
Lisandro’s goal secured a 1-1 draw for the hosts and that, coupled with Fiorentina’s win over Debrecen, means the Reds now have to rely on a favour from the French side when they travel to Italy on Matchday 5.
If Fiorentina beat Lyon then Liverpool will be consigned to life in the Europa League. A point for the Italian side will leave Liverpool needing to win 2-0 or by three goals to go through on the head-to-head rule. Should Fiorentina lose, then Liverpool would go through with a victory on the final matchday. Liverpool will also have to beat Czech champions Debrecen.
“We have to keep going, and try to win,” Benitez said. “We have achieved miracles before and we can do it again.
“It is simple for me to keep my head high, and that is by watching the players on the pitch and seeing their performances, hearing the fans singing after the game because they know that we are improving and getting better.
“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.
“If it is not, we have to keep going because it is always the same in football, we have to keep going after one game there is another one.”
He also maintained he was still the right man to lead the Reds.
“Always any manager has to be under pressure so I feel it is a question of to be calm and keep going,” added Benitez.
“I feel that today the team was again a little bit better and that is a positive message for me.”
Striker Fernando Torres lasted 87 minutes before being replaced, and Benitez said: “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.
“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.”