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Under-pressure Benitez rues Reds injury list

  • Story Highlights
  • Rafael Benitez believes Liverpool's injury crisis is the worst of his time at club
  • Liverpool lost 2-1 to Lyon at Anfield which hampered their hopes of progression
  • Steven Gerrard limped out of the match with a recurrence of his groin problem
  • Benitez is under pressure ahead of Sunday's clash against Manchester United
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(CNN) -- Rafael Benitez believes Liverpool are facing the worst injury crisis of his tenure at Anfield ahead of their crucial English Premier League clash with bitter rivals Manchester United.

Steven Gerrard

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez believes his side's injury crisis is the worst of his tenure at the club.

Liverpool are still licking their wounds after a home 2-1 defeat to Lyon in the Champions League which has seriously hampered their hopes of making the knockout stages.

The Reds also lost midfielder Steve Gerrard against Lyon after just 25 minutes with a suspected recurrence of a groin injury which has added to Benitez's casualty list.

Fernando Torres and Glen Johnson both missed Tuesday night's game with groin injuries while winger Albert Riera is also in need of a scan on his hamstring and Martin Kelly's impressive full debut was ruined by an ankle injury.

"We have just too many problems, I cannot remember an injury situation like this.

"There are other players with other problems, I have no idea what team I can put out against Manchester United until we have had the players tested and seen by the medical team," added Benitez.

Benitez defended the decision to restore Gerrard to the starting line-up even though the midfielder had to be replaced by Fabio Aurelio in the first half.

Video Watch CNN's fan reporter for Liverpool react to the Champions League result »

"It was not a gamble to play Gerrard. He wanted to play and had trained normally for two days," he said in the post-match press conference.

"He was given the all-clear by the doctor and it was just bad luck what happened. He felt something wrong in his groin, and it was wise to come off."

Liverpool's hopes of progression to the last 16 of the Champions League is now in doubt after they took only three points from their first three fixtures.

However, Benitez is confident the Reds can draw on the experience of the 2007/08 campaign when his side found themselves in a similar situation and still managed to progress into the knockout stage.

"It was a difficult game for us, but we were winning 1-0 and had two or three chances that could have changed everything," he explained.

"We are really disappointed because it was a difficult game that we could have won.

"But we have done it before and now we have to do the same. We have to be ready for the next game and try to win, and afterwards do the same with the other two games in the group.

"We have done it before and we have to have confidence we can do it again."

Liverpool have now suffered four defeats in a row in all competitions but Benitez remains focused on the job in hand despite the pressure that a fifth defeat against Manchester United could bring.

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He added: "We will have to prepare the players and push them. We will prepare for the game like always and keep going. It is a question of doing things properly and having confidence.

"We have to prepare for the next game. That is our job and we will do it from as soon as I finish this press conference. We have to be ready."

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