Liverpool v FC Basel: Champions League
Liverpool v FC Basel tonight and the statistics suggest Liverpool will score the final goal against FC Basel, yet it might not be enough…
Brendan Rodgers’ side must beat the Swiss team at Anfield to seal second place in Group B and reach the knockout stage.
“It will be a great night and it is up to us to get the job done,” the Liverpool manager said.
“It is an opportunity for the players to qualify and make sure they write themselves into folklore.”
Liverpool have been in a similar position in the Champions League before, going into a home game against Olympiakos in December 2004 needing a win to reach the last 16.
They trailed 1-0 at half-time but turned the game around to win 3-1 and qualify ahead of the Greek side en route to winning the trophy.
While Liverpool have to win on Tuesday, a draw will be enough to take Basel through alongside group winners Real Madrid.
“We would have taken this when the draw was made,” continued Rodgers.
“We have shown in recent weeks the group is starting to come together again. Slowly, game by game, I can see the difference in the team, the focus and concentration, and we have quality in the squad.”
With striker Mario Balotelli (groin) still not fit Fabio Borini could earn a recall to the bench – having been omitted on Saturday against Sunderland – as back-up for Rickie Lambert.
Centre-back Mamadou Sakho trained with the squad in their open session on Monday night but is unlikely to make the match after a long lay-off with a thigh injury.
Liverpool have never defeated FC Basel in European competition (D2 L1)
There is no worse team for Liverpool to be facing in a European decider than FC Basel. Well, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Paris St-Germain would be more fiendish opponents of course, but very few clubs possess FC Basel’s talent for knocking out Premier League participants. They progressed at Liverpool’s expense when they were previously drawn together in 2002/03, they saw off Man United in 2011/12, eliminated Tottenham from the Europa League in 2012/13 and beat Chelsea twice last term. In addition to all that, they have already won once against the Reds in Group B.
Recommended Bet: Lay Liverpool to win @ 1.82
Liverpool have gone six Champions League games without keeping a clean sheet
There has been the faintest hint of defensive improvement for Liverpool in the Premier League recently, with just one goal given up in their previous three matches, but the wider picture of four clean sheets from 22 attempts across the board in 2014/15 is far more damning. They have conceded two goals per game across their past three Champions League ties and FC Basel have fired one away blank in 14 fixtures on their travels this term, netting 12 times across the latest three.
Recommended Bet: Back both teams to score @ 1.83
FC Basel have not scored after the 65th minute in the Champions League this season
While the Swiss side are prompt with their Champions League goal-getting, Liverpool prefer to pay homage to the heroes of Olympiakos, Istanbul and other such memorable European comebacks by leaving it late. Half of their four strikes since returning to Europe’s top table have come in the closing ten minutes of clashes, and two of those were at Anfield. FC Basel have given up the last goal in each of their most recent four away Champions League outings.
Recommended Bet: Back Liverpool to score the last goal @ 1.62
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