Liverpool vs Lyon Football Match 11 Dec 2022
four-game winning run before the World Cup was the perfect tonic for a Liverpool side whose club continues to make headlines off the field, as uncertainty lingers over the future of Fenway Sports Group and John W Henry‘s tenure at the Anfield helm.
Amid all the ownership drama and reports of a possible sale, sporting director Julian Ward – who has only been in the job for just over a year – is understood to be stepping down at the end of the season in a major internal shake-up, and Jurgen Klopp‘s men would do well to bring their supporters some festive cheer on the pitch.
Defeats to Nottingham Forest and Leeds United at the end of October shows that Liverpool have not eliminated all the frailties from their injury-hit and below-par start to the season, but Klopp’s men can proudly boast to have won eight of their last 10 competitive fixtures to surge to sixth place in the Premier League table.
Liverpool’s customary place in the Champions League is still under significant threat, as they lie seven points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur with a game in hand, and vengeance is already on the minds of those who witnessed Real Madrid end the Reds’ hopes of a seventh European Cup crown last term, as the 2021 finalists prepare to meet in the last 16 of the Champions League next year.
Before aiming to serve Los Blancos a cold dish of revenge, Liverpool face Lyon and then AC Milan in the Dubai Super Cup, which sees four teams compete for friendly glory, and a penalty shootout will also take place at the end of each match for an additional point.
Klopp’s side face a Christmas baptism of fire upon their return to competitive action with a visit to Manchester City in the fourth round of the EFL Cup on December 22, and putting a few goals past a hapless Lyon side would set them up well for another unenviable Etihad scrap.
Despite facing a second-string Arsenal side who have failed to replicate the feats of their first-choice teammates throughout the season, Lyon were put to the sword in convincing fashion by the Premier League leaders in their Dubai Super Cup opener on Thursday.
Gabriel Magalhaes, Eddie Nketiah and Fabio Vieira put Arsenal 3-0 up before the half-time whistle blew, and even though Arteta brought on no fewer than nine academy players for the final 20 minutes, the Gunners still looked like the team most likely to score again.
Third-choice Arsenal goalkeeper Karl Hein also stopped four penalties – including a hideous attempt at a Panenka from Rayan Cherki – in the shootout to secure an extra point for the Gunners via a 2-1 success, and Laurent Blanc admitted that the only positive from Thursday’s humiliation was that his side “ran a lot”.
Lyon also conceded three in a 5-3 friendly win over OH Leuven at the start of the month, and following the end of the Dubai Super Cup, Les Gones will tackle Sochaux and Monza on December 17 and 22 respectively before resuming an ailing Ligue 1 campaign away to Brest on December 28.
Liverpool and Lyon have only ever locked horns twice competitively in the 2008-09 Champions League group stage, where Les Gones came from behind to record a late 2-1 win at Anfield before relying on a 90th-minute strike from Lisandro Lopez to rescue a 1-1 draw on home turf.