Lazy Liverpool lose out in Basel after lacklustre display
In Steven Gerrard’s own assessment of Liverpool’s performance against Basel in their 1-0 Champions League Group B loss, he stated the Reds “were too soft all over the pitch” and “didn’t deserve anything out of the game”.
Brendan Rodgers’ boys lacked any kind of creativity or end product, as they succumbed to a goal from a corner from veteran Swiss striker Marco Streller, who had a couple of other chances to be on target. The giant frontman latched onto an unintended backward header from Martin Skrtel.
Liverpool now find themselves in third place in their pool, ahead of just Bulgarian outfit Ludogorets Razgrad, who again narrowly lost 2-1 after a heroic display – this time to title holders Real Madrid.
The Reds are still heavy second-favourites with Coral both to top the group at 11/2, and odds-on at 4/9 to qualify for the last 16, in their first season back in European elite club competition since 2009/10, where they exited at this stage. However, they will have to change their approach in their upcoming double-header with Real, starting at Anfield on October 22nd.
Rodgers has been missing main man Daniel Sturridge, and of course the departed Luis Suarez, who scored 56 goals between them in all competitions last term, for much of the season so far. Newest addition Mario Balotelli, meanwhile, failed to fire once again for his fourth successive game, but in all fairness he wasn’t being provided with enough quality chances.
The controversial Italian had a goal ruled out for offside, as did the usually affective Raheem Sterling, but rarely threatened in attack, along with the rest of the side. Balotelli did strike a stinging free-kick from afar, before Lazar Markovic’s rebound was blocked by Premier League target Fabian Schar, but, like Gerrard in a similar position, Basel keeper Tomas Vaclik was equal to it.
“I thought they wanted it more, which is very disappointing,” Reds skipper Gerrard continued. “Conceding again from a set-piece isn’t good enough, so we need to get it right. You’re not going to win a football match if you keep conceding from set-pieces.
“I thought we were second-best at times tonight. I think they are an okay team, but I wouldn’t say we were blown off the park or that they were fantastic. We made it easy for them and we wanted something out of this game – at least a draw.
“We came for the win, I expected us to win, so it was very disappointing. We will discuss it, we will analyse it like we always do.”
Basel, as they have been against English opposition in recent times beating Manchester United and Chelsea, looked a well-organised unit and had 56 per cent possession overall. They were in control and rarely looked threatened, despite Liverpool having not been defeat by Swiss opposition in their last nine matches.
Liverpool had a couple of late half chances late on from the likes of Sterling and Markovic again, but both lacked enough composure.
The Reds are still not completely out of contention, but need to get something against Madrid, and are 33/1 chances to win their sixth European Cup.