Cascarino: I fear for Liverpool

Former Marseille striker Tony Cascarino believes Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez faces one of the most crucial periods of his Anfield career following three successive defeats. The Reds have lost consecutive away fixtures against Fiorentina, Chelsea and Sunderland ahead of Tuesday night's Champions League tie at home to French league leaders Lyon. And the ex-Republic of Ireland international - who scored 61 goals in 81 league appearances for Marseille - is confident Claude Puel's side have the firepower to trouble Liverpool's far-from-solid defence, despite the loss of star striker Karim Benzema to Real Madrid. "The way the side is performing I have serious doubts whether they will beat the French side as defensively they are awful," he said. "Lyon may have endured a poor last season but they’ve bought well with the money gained from the Benzema sale. Many in France felt the club would just pocket the money but they’ve backed manager Puel to the hilt and shown great ambition. "Forwards Lisandro Lopez and Bafetimbi Gomis will cause problems for the Liverpool defence. The duo have started the campaign very well and I’ve been impressed with them and all the new signings. Lyon are a much improved outfit and the likes of Gomis and Lopez will score goals." And the former Chelsea and Aston Villa front-man admitted that he doubts whether Liverpool can beat Lyon without injured top-scorer Fernando Torres. "As Torres is out, Dirk Kuyt is likely to start up top but the jury’s still out on whether the Dutchman can provide enough in a central area," he said. "I fear for Liverpool unless the crowd can lift the team for the match. The Anfield faithful is renowned for their support on European nights and they may well play a big part in building the Reds' players confidence and belief up. "The team certainly cannot afford to lose even this early in the competition. Benitez faces one of the toughest weeks he has faced at the club but a positive result is desperately needed before Manchester United come to town."

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