By: Reuters & AP
Liverpool have reached last chance saloon in the Champions League and only a win against FC Basel on Tuesday will keep them being left out in the cold. Third in Group B, level on four points with Bulgarian side Ludogorets, Liverpool are two points behind Basel and 11 points adrift of unbeaten group winners Real Madrid and have no more wriggle room after a disappointing campaign so far.
After a four-year absence Liverpool’s return to a tournament in which they have such a rich history has been an anti-climax but a first victory since September would see them snatch a last 16 spot at the expense of the Swiss side. Basel, who beat Liverpool 1-0 in October, need just a draw.
While Liverpool would have hoped to have performed better – their only win so far was a narrow one against Ludogorets at home – the stage is set for one of Anfield’s special nights. “We will get great support and there will be energy,” Rodgers, whose side suffered a 0-0 draw at home to Sunderland on Saturday, told the Liverpool Echo.
Basel’s win against the Reds in October was their fourth in succession against English opposition in the competition and the Swiss Champions have lost just one of their last nine meetings with English sides. After Basel succumbed to a spirited 1-0 home defeat against holders Madrid last month, the Spanish side’s manager Carlo Ancelotti said: “I believe Basel is currently better than Liverpool. Basel’s players are fit and the team is motivated.”
Basel manager Paulo Sousa, told reporters that his side hold a slight advantage over Liverpool, virtue of their performance against the Spanish giants. “I think Ancelotti is right, as we were the team that caused Real Madrid with the most difficulties in this group so far,” he said.
Fixtures: Juventus vs Atletico Madrid (Ten Sports 1:15 am) Liverpool vs FC Basel (Ten Action 1:15 am); AS Monaco vs Zenit St Petersburg; Borussia Dortmund vs Anderlecht; Olympiakos vs Malmo; Real Madriid vs Ludogorets; Benfica vs Bayer Leverkusen; Galatasaray vs Arsenal