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Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez on the ropes over players' confidence crisis

By Mark McIntosh

Rafa Benitez is facing up to a crisis of confidence in the ranks after Liverpool suffered their fourth defeat on the trot last night.

The 2-1 Champions League loss by Lyon piled the pressure on Benitez, who now has five players struggling to be fit for Sunday’s Premier League showdown with Manchester United, including Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres.

Midfielder Javier Mascherano has admitted the players are beginning to feel the heat after their Champions League hopes took a battering ahead of the must-win league game.

“We are not playing well, we know that,” said the Argentina captain. “And a lot of players are not in the best form. We are losing confidence.

“Rafa didn't say anything after the game, he didn't want to talk because everyone is disappointed.

“We need to talk and we need to see all the mistakes we have made and try not to repeat them against United.

“Everyone is talking about the manager but the truth is we are the ones who play on the pitch and if we don't play well it's not his fault. We have to take responsibility. For our confidence, Sunday’s match is now a massive game.”

United hope to restore British pride when they face CSKA Moscow later, while Chelsea play Atletico Madrid.

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