Match report: Liverpool 1-1 Basel – Reds exit Champions League…
Liverpool crashed out of the Champions League on Tuesday evening, despite Steven Gerrard leading a late fightback against Basel. The Reds’ skipper scored a superb late free-kick, but it only proved good enough for a draw.
Brendan Rodgers’ side needed to win the game to seal progress to the competition’s knockout stages, and our European campaign will now only continue on in the Europa League, which we will start in after Christmas.
Fabian Frei gave the visitors an ultimately decisive lead mid-way through the first-half, with his low shot from the edge of the area getting the better of a statuesque Simon Mignolet in the Reds’ goal.
Luca Zuffi was the provider, with his slick interchange with Frei proving too hot to handle for a hesitant Liverpool defence that included the returning Dejan Lovren, who was filling in for the injured Kolo Toure.
Unimpressed with his side’s first-half showing, Rodgers made two half-time changes – taking off the dissapointing Jose Enrique and Rickie Lambert, and bringing on Alberto Moreno and Lazar Markovic.
Unfortunately, the latter lasted less than twenty minutes – receiving a controversial red card for supposedly lashing out at Behrang Safari. His departure, which came after a highly promising cameo, looked to have all but ended our hopes of qualification.
However, captain Gerrard redoubled his efforts in midfield – taking a tumble in the penalty area, with appeals for a spot kick turned down – before coolly stepping up to bend a free-kick perfectly into the top left hand corner.
Ten-man Liverpool surged forward in the closing stages, but couldn’t find a way past a stubborn Basel defence – with Jordan Henderson’s deflected effort the closest to winning it for the hosts.