Liverpool in must-win Champions League encounter with Basel
It is fair to say that Liverpool have had a poor season in both the Premier League and Champions League, but they can still all-but qualify from their Group B in Europe with a win over Swiss outfit Basel.
The Reds are priced odds-on at 4/6 with Coral both for victory at Anfield and to make it to the knockout rounds in this competition for the first time since reaching the quarters in 2008/09.
However, in these two sides’ previous three head-to-heads, Liverpool, who have just four points from their five games so far this campaign, have not ended up on the winning side, losing once and drawing twice.
Brendan Rodgers’ men were defeated in Switzerland 1-0 by Basel this season, and the away side, who have a habit of causing shocks in the Champions League, are 4/1 chances for victory, and 16/1 by that scoreline again.
A draw (11/4) would even be enough for them to progress as Group B runners-up, unless Bulgarian minnows Ludogorets Razgrad were to smash reigning champions Real Madrid at the Bernabeu by five goals or more.
Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard has started in all three of his side’s meetings with Basel, the first being back in 2002, although did not manage to find the net. He is leading marksman for his club this season in all competitions, however, and is a 2/1 chance to net anytime.
Rodgers said of his captain, who came off the bench in the most recent 0-0 draw with Sunderland: “He was excellent when he came on and, of course, he plays on Tuesday night (December 9th).
“Stevie coming onto the field gives us the world-class quality that the team needs and I thought he was brilliant when he came on.
“It can’t be up to him every single game to be the catalyst, but it’s very hard to replace that quality.
“He’s still got that talent, he’s got world-class ability and at this stage of his career it’s about me managing that, along with him, in order to play in the big games.”
Rickie Lambert, who scored a goal in his only Champions League start this campaign, meanwhile, is likely to be the lone frontman in Daniel Sturridge’s continued absence and Mario Balotelli’s fitness issues. The England striker is 9/2 to net first.
In all the encounters between the Reds and Basel, the Swiss side have got at least a goal, and there are fantastic odds of 5/2 available for both teams to score and Liverpool win.
The Swiss champions are in fine form in all competitions coming into this game, though, with a defeat to Real Madrid their only loss of points in their last eight matches.
Albanian attacker Shkelzen Gashi has been on a destructive run of late, netting six times in his last four league fixtures, and scoring once from his two Champions League showings. He is a fantastic 7/2 shout to add to his season tally of 13 anytime.
Giant Swiss veteran and club captain Marco Streller, who has scored six times this term in all competitions and got the sole goal against Liverpool this season, meanwhile, is 11/4 in the anytime market.
Liverpool can take heart in the fact that they have never lost against a club from this country at home in five attempts, winning three, but will have to improve on their run of just two wins in their last eight.