Liverpool host Basel in a do or die encounter in their last Champions League group stage match tonight at Anfield. The Reds have picked up just 4 points from 5 games but Brendan Rodgers’ side have their fate in their own hands building up to this crunch encounter.
Basel however need just a draw to qualify but the Swiss side will know that the Reds buoyed by their vociferous home support will come hard at them. As we build up to what is arguably Liverpool’s season defining moment, here are the three key talking points for the Reds.
Brendan Rodgers needs to get his team selection and game plan correct: There is no doubt that Liverpool have been way below their best from last season. There seems absolutely no creativity in midfield and neither of the players are willing enough to lead from the front. The Reds were lucky to draw against Sunderland at home in the weekend and had very few shots on goal.
Rodgers though needs to get his selection correct. One possible formation could be the diamond with Stevern Gerrard playing on the top with Sterling and Henderson beside him. Attacking wise Rickie Lambert is expected to start and Adam Lallana too should make the cut.
Steven Gerrard to the rescue act- once again: The Liverpool skipper has been here and has done it before. Who would forget his last gasp thunderous striker ten years back against Olympiacos in the historic 2004-05 Champions League campaign? Liverpool under the guidance of Rafa Benitez went on to beat AC Milan in the final at Istanbul and claim the trophy.
Ten years later, Gerrard faces the same adversity, he needs to lead from the front. He is expected to start but what will be key is his role just in front of the Basel defense. He no longer has the pace to barge past defenders but his precision passing could just make the difference.
Liverpool need to be ruthless: The Reds have had very little to show for their attacking creativity but as the game against Ludogorets showed, despite the lack of cohesion in defense, they took their chances barring Sterling late on, who should have scored after being on one against the goalkeeper. Basel have a quality defense and Real Madrid struggled to break them down in Switzerland. Thus it would be key for th Reds to make full use of whatever chances that fall their way.