Mascherano defends under-fire Benitez
Javier Mascherano has jumped to boss Rafael Benitez's defence by demanding that Liverpool's stars take responsibility for the club's current crisis.
The home Champions League defeat by Lyon on Tuesday has put Liverpool in grave danger of failing to qualify for the last 16.
A sixth defeat in all competitions this term also underlines the desperate run of form that has already damaged their Barclays Premier League dreams, perhaps irrevocably.
Benitez has overseen Liverpool's worst run of defeats since 1987, but midfielder Mascherano puts the blame firmly on the players.
He says: "It is easy for everyone to blame the manager and not the players.
"But the truth is that it is us out there on the pitch, the players. If we play badly it is not the manager's fault, it is ours and we must take the responsibility.
"The manager can tell us how to play but on the pitch it is down to the players. We need to keep going and to work harder.
"I do not believe that Sunday's league game with Manchester United will decide our season, but it is too early to say that. But for our confidence a win will be a massive boost.
"If we win on Sunday it will be a totally different Monday. We are not thinking about losing to United, we have done it before - twice last season - and we must do that again."
Liverpool were leading through a Yossi Benayoun first-half goal, before collapsing and conceding twice in the final 18 minutes through substitutes Maxime Gonalons and Cesar Delgado.
He added: "We always seem to make it hard for ourselves in Europe, now we have to win the last three games in the group. But we have done that before, we just have to do it again.
"We need to remember that. We can still qualify. People have said before that Liverpool are out after results like the one against Lyon, but we have hit back before and qualified, we can do it again.
"It is a must-win game now next in Lyon in a fortnight, a very important game for us.
"After the game the boss didn't talk too much, everyone was so disappointed.
"But we do need to review all the mistakes that we made, it is the players that made mistakes not the manager, so we must make sure we do not do the same things against United.
"It is a difficult situation, we have lost four in a row. But do not forget this a team who last season were doing very well, we must keep going and working.
"The team is not playing well, and a lot of players are not in the best form and we are losing confidence."
Brazilian team-mate Fabio Aurelio also believes the team, not the manager, must take the blame for Liverpool's worst run in 22 years.
He said: "We must concentrate on winning our final three games in Europe, pressure is building on us.
"But the players know that we are the only people who can change what is going wrong.
"We know what we have to do. We have to change the feeling that we are not a strong team now, especially after what we achieved last season."
Latest in Sport
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao begin and what channel is it on?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao live: Mayweather puts on defensive masterclass to win by unanimous decision
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao begin on Sky Sports Box Office?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does the fight start and what channel is it on?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: Only 132 pubs in the United Kingdom will show the fight - so where can you watch it?
- 1 Which country would be hardest to invade?
- 2 Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
- 3 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 4 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 5 Royal baby girl born: Duchess of Cambridge's second child will be a princess thanks to Queen
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils