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Liverpool’s back is to the wall as they contemplate life without Europe.

Time for the industrial strength, Teflon coated underwear, it is make or break for Rafa’s boys. Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez isn’t prepared to countenance anything but victory in tonight’s game against Besiktas in Istanbul.

Although controversy is following Liverpool around like a bad smell, Rafa’s main remain unbeaten domestically and it is the Champions League which is currently the biggest problem for them, The Sun is warning against what it calls a “Champions League cock-up”, and Rafa seconds their opinion – Benitez said:

“This game is really important. We cannot afford to lose because if we do it will be really difficult to qualify. So we need to win. A draw? Then a lot would depend on the other results in our group. It’s clear we need three points but the players don’t need me to tell them how important this is. The real problem was against Marseille and in a short competition like the group stages it means we have to win again. But it’s just two games. We made a big mistake in one, that’s all, and we know we must win to put things right. Porto, who are the best team in Portugal, made it very difficult for us in the first 15 minutes. But to get out of that one with a draw with 10 men was really good.”

Rafa is acutely aware that any farting around in Istanbul could mean curtains for Liverpool’s hopes of progressing in group A. Liverpool only have one point, after a draw in Porto and that result at Anfield, plus Fernando Torres won’t be playing and for once it’s not because Rafa doesn’t feel like putting him on, Benitez said:

“I spoke to the doctor and it was impossible for him to play — but hopefully he will be OK for the weekend.”

If only ‘Clatters’ did Champions League duty as well…