After too many seasons away from Europe's top club competition, Liverpool went crashing out of Champions League on Tuesday on the back of a draw against FC Basel. It was a disappointing end to a competition in which Liverpool have so much rich history, but captain Steven Gerrard doesn't feel Liverpool have been hard done by with the result.
"We haven't been good enough," Gerrard said after the match. "We haven't gone out of the competition because of our performance tonight, we've gone out because away at Basel we weren't good enough, in our last game we conceded a stupid goal towards injury time. You always qualify over the six games and unfortunately we haven't been good enough."
Having only won one of six matches during the group stage, Liverpool's record speaks for itself. Still, in spite of the poor results, the club were still in the mix to advance on match day six if they could eke out a win. Gerrard delivered an equaliser to get his team back in the game, but in the end it wasn't enough.
"We knew if we were still in the game with 20, 25 minutes to go, if we could get that goal it would have been hell for Basel," the skipper continued. "Unfortunately we just never had enough energy, enough legs in the last 15, 20, because the referee has sent [Lazar Markovic] off. I haven't seen the incident, but I'm told it was very harsh."
Liverpool now drop down into Europa League, having finished third in Group B. It's a competition Liverpool have — painfully — been more familiar with in recent years, and with the tournament's knock-out rounds beginning with thirty-two teams, it will continue to add additional fixtures to a busy winter that already sees the addition of the FA Cup.