Liverpool v Lyon Preview – Can Rafa’s ‘champions’ bounce back?

Liverpool v Lyon
Tuesday 20 October 2009
Anfield, Liverpool
UEFA Champions League
Kick-off: 19:45 UK (20:45 CET)

Liverpool go into this Champions League game on the back of three consecutive defeats and are looking rattled. Lyon too suffered their first defeat of the season but seem to be in better shape mentally than their more illustrious Champions League opponents.

With injury doubts over Gerrard and Torres, a shaky backline and even fans working against them, Rafa Benitez’s team have a real fight on their hands. You can expect the Kop to step up and play the role of the 12th man, but will the real first XI show up?

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Team news after the jump.

Liverpool Preview

Liverpool will be looking to bounce back after Saturday’s loss against Sunderland as they welcome Lyon to Anfield on Tuesday.

In fact, Liverpool have lost their last three competitive matches and will be hoping for a good response despite being without the services of Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard, both of whom were absent when Rafa Benitez’s men made the trip to the Stadium of Light on Saturday. Both players are struggling to return from groin injuries following last week’s international matches.

Liverpool could certainly have used the support of their captain and Spanish striker, but the loss to Sunderland came down to one of the more bizarre goals of the season. A balloon from the stands had found its way onto the pitch following a Liverpool corner, and when Sunderland hit back on the counter attack, Darren Bent’s effort deflected off the balloon and left Pepe Reina helpless in Liverpool’s goal.

Having recently lost to Fiorentina in the Champions League, Benitez will know the importance of three points in Tuesday night’s Liverpool vs Lyon clash.

Liverpool v Lyon Betting

Games at this level, especially with opposition closely matched in ability, mean very few goals at either end of the pitch. Sporting Index have the goals spread for this game at 2.4 to 2.6 – we’re selling the spread and expecting a 1-0 or 1-1 result.

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Lyon Preview

Claude Puel will bring his Olympique Lyonnais side to Anfield for this Liverpool – Lyon Champions League match following the club’s first loss of the season on Saturday.

Lyon have opened their Champions League account on a positive note, and after winning both of their opening matches, Lyon will have a real opportunity to put some daylight between themselves and the rest of the pack when they take on Liverpool on Tuesday.

Still, Puel will feel his side have something to prove after a poor performance this weekend against Sochaux handed them their first defeat of the season. The loss came against a motivated Sochaux club who put it all on the line for Charlie Davies after the American striker’s horrific car accident. Nevertheless, Lyon will feel that after one way traffic for the majority of the match, they should have taken not only a point, but all three from the encounter.

A number of first team regulars were rested in the Olympique Lyonnais – Sochaux fixture, as it is assumed that Puel had his mind already focused on the upcoming match with Liverpool.

Liverpool v Lyon Predictions

The two teams have not met before, so there is no past Liverpool v Lyon head-to-head results to consider. However, Liverpool do historically fare well against French clubs, whilst Lyon have only won once on English soil before.

Liverpool rely largely on their two top guns, and without them they have a tendency to look very average. All the same time, with the Kop behind them, the Reds will still be favoured to beat Lyonnais, having won nine of their last twelve Champions League meetings at Anfield.

Liverpool v Lyon Prediction: Liverpool 1 – Lyonnais 0

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