Liverpool dumped out of Champions League by Basel
Anfield has witnessed many magical European moments.
But this certainly wasn’t one of them.
The only magic came from visitors Basel, who secured a 1-1 draw against Liverpool this morning (Singapore time) to knock the five-time winners out of the Champions League.
Basel went ahead through a 25th-minute strike by Fabian Frei, whose thumping shot into the bottom corner gave goalkeeper Simon Mignolet no chance.
Skipper Steven Gerrard gave the Reds a flicker of hope when he curled in a superb free-kick nine minutes from time.
But it was a rare moment of brilliance from the hosts, who were by then playing with 10 men after Lazar Markovic’s dismissal near the hour mark.
Liverpool came into this match requiring a win to get through to the knock-out stage.
Basel, on the other hand, needed just a draw to progress.
But it was the Swiss side who showed more desire.
They adopted a high-pressing game which troubled the hosts right from the start. They were confident in possession, and were moving the ball around fluidly.
In contrast, Liverpool struggled to get the ball out of their own half for much of the first half.
As the pressure mounted on the Liverpool defence, it became almost inevitable that Basel would score.
And they did so through Frei, but could have went into the break more than a goal ahead had they taken their chances.
Liverpool got themselves deeper into trouble when Markovic swung out at Behrang Safari and received a straight red in the 61st minute.
When Gerrard later equalised through a set-piece, Anfield braced itself for one more special night.
But it never came.
Rodgers needed a boost in Europe to turn the team’s season around.
Instead, all he got was yet another reminder of how appalling their performances have been.