clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Only Patience Will Get Liverpool Past Basel

Liverpool will need to score against FC Basel to advance in the Champions League, but Brendan Rodgers is stressing the need for patience against a side that will set up on the counter.

Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Four months into a largely disappointing season, Liverpool face FC Basel tomorrow night at Anfield with Champions League progress on the line. It's not the position many thought they would be in when group play began, but given their struggles, that they still have a chance has to be seen as a positive.

To advance, though, Liverpool need a win. Basel only need a draw. It's a situation that could lead to nervy fans and players if the game remains scoreless for very long, and Brendan Rodgers spent much of his pre-match press conference today stressing the fact that patience will be key and pushing too hard for an early goal could backfire.

"We don't need to win the game in the first minutes," insisted the manager as he spoke to the media from Melwood this afternoon. "We have to keep our patience and play a strong technical and tactical game and keep our concentration and focus for 90 minutes. Along with having the fans behind us, we have a great chance."

Knowing they need goals will certainly put pressure on Liverpool, but Basel have pace and have shown before that they're more than capable of getting results away to sides that overcommit in attack. Liverpool will need to attack, but they will need to guard against pushing too many men forward and conceding possession easily.

Basel will leave room for deeper players to advance into, hoping to drag them out of position and create space to counter into. They will clog the middle and hope for ambitious passes, born of frustration, that lead to turnovers. Liverpool will need to be smart to avoid falling into their trap. Rodgers, though, says that they will be.

"The players are committed," he said. "In Basel, our defending was soft, we were lacking a bit of confidence. That was a game that was part of a learning curve for us. We go into tomorrow with a much better mindset than in September. Basel may come in and put men behind the ball, as they only need a draw, but if we keep patient, we can get the result."

As for who will and won't be available to try and do just that, Rodgers noted that he doesn't expect any changes from the squad that faced Sunderland. A few players might come off the bench, but Mario Balotelli and Mamadou Sakho—and in all likelihood Fabio Borini as well—will not be involved in the matchday squad.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Liverpool Offside Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Liverpool FC news from Liverpool Offside