Gerrard demands 'second best' Liverpool make rapid response

Captain looking for huge improvement at Chelsea after 'not turning up' in Florence
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The Independent Online

Liverpool were last night still trying to come to terms with their Champions League defeat to Fiorentina and no one was more disillusioned than the captain Steven Gerrard.

Defeat in Florence leaves Liverpool in real danger of not reaching the knock-out stages as the other team in their group, Lyons – whom Rafa Benitez's side now play twice in a row – have won both their games. Liverpool sit third, albeit after only two games, but they now know it will be a battle to escape the group following their 2-0 defeat in the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

Gerrard accepted the criticism of Liverpool's abject performance, saying: "We just didn't turn up." But he also attempted to be optimistic, claiming: "We will be fine if we win our home games."

But Gerrard knows that is no gimme against Lyons, who are second in the French league. Liverpool face them at home on 20 October and away on 4 November while Fiorentina can expect to be winning their own back-to-back ties with Debrecen on those dates. That would give Fiorentina nine points, and leave Liverpool with it all to do against Lyons.

"We were disappointed to lose in Florence, we were second best all over the pitch and deserved to go in at the break losing," Gerrard said. "The reaction was better in the second half and we created some chances, but we just could not get into the game. We did not do what we usually do away from home in Europe.

"We normally play at a high tempo and pass the ball really well, and play well on the counter-attack. But all over the pitch we just did not turn up. But this group is still wide open, there's plenty of football to be played and we are now in the same position as Fiorentina with a win and a defeat, and they still have to face us at Anfield.

"If we win our next home game [against Lyons], things will be different. If we win our home games now that should be enough, we'll be fine. But we need to get this defeat out of our system quickly, because we have a massive game now at Chelsea.

"We need to produce a reaction from this defeat at Stamford Bridge [where Liverpool play in the League on Sunday], that has to be the aim now."

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