Basel Are Conquerable If Brendan Rodgers Gets Liverpool’s Midfield Makeup Right

By , World Football Tactics Lead Writer Oct 1, 2014

Basel Are Conquerable If Brendan Rodgers Gets Liverpool's Midfield Makeup Right

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Liverpool’s UEFA Champions League adventure continues in Basel on Wednesday evening, and Brendan Rodgers will be hoping for a slightly smoother ride than the one Ludogorets gave them in gameweek 1.

Basel have provided stern opposition to Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur in recent seasons, though without Valentin Stocker and Mohamed Salah, they’re at a lower level and it represents the ideal time to play them.

Basel Setup

Basel’s first game against Real Madrid wasn’t exactly the most helpful indicator of how strong they are, as los Blancos crushed them 5-1 in an almighty display.


Paulo Sousa, former Swansea City and Queens Park Rangers manager, is in charge over there now, as Murat Yakin opted for a move to Russia with Spartak Moscow this summer. Sousa is continuing to use the strong passing foundations Yakin built, and his side possess the ability to switch between 4-5-1 and 3-4-3 with ease.

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Video: Reds train for Basel test

1st Oct 2014 – Latest News

 Video: Reds train for Basel test

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BR’s update on Sakho & Sturridge injuries

1st Oct 2014 – Latest News

BR's update on Sakho & Sturridge injuries

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Boss: How Basel blow helped mould Stevie

1st Oct 2014 – Latest News

Boss: How Basel blow helped mould Stevie

Phil Reade

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Flashback: Liverpool FC hoping to banish Champions League ghosts in Basel

Oct 01, 2014 10:12

Previous visit to St Jakob Park was ‘one of most hurtful European experiences in club history”

Liverpool’s Steve Gerrard stands dejected

Liverpool FC return to the scene of one of their toughest Champions League lessons tonight when they take on FC Basel.

In only their second season in the competition, Gerard Houllier’s men travelled to St Jakob Park for their final group game knowing only a victory would secure qualification for the knock-out stages.

The Reds were still top of the Premier League despite a first domestic defeat of the season the Saturday before at Middlesbrough, but home and away losses to Rafa Benitez’s Valencia had indicated this European campaign might prove tougher than the previous year’s which had seen a run to the quarter-finals.

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Liverpool: Full Report Card for Every Position for September

By , Featured Columnist Oct 1, 2014

Liverpool: Full Report Card for Every Position for September

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

For Liverpool supporters, it has largely been a case of wake me up when September ends. Now it finally has, the Reds can reflect on a somewhat messy month.

Everyone associated with the club will hope their morale is boosted by a Champions League win in Basel on Wednesday, but after a month in which they lost their premier forward, lost two Premier League fixtures, were demoralised in the last seconds of a derby and only won two games thanks to a last-gasp penalty and a bizarre 30-kick shootout, the Reds will hope to experience a more routine October.

Having bounced into the month with a 3-0 win at Tottenham, there wasn’t much that went right for the Reds during September, but what about the individuals involved?

Here we take a look at every player who appeared in a senior Liverpool match over the last 30 days and give them a grade, while also evaluating the manager.

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Liverpool FC: A Case For The Defence?


If ever there was a good time (and there are many) to cut off contact with Twitter it was on the final whistle after Liverpool’s defeat to West Ham. The post-defeat staple diet of hysterical over reaction, scape-goating and abuse aimed at players was served up in super-size helpings. A comment that ‘Brendan Rodgers is a dead man walking’ from a ‘supporter’ was the last straw.

Case For Defence

After a period of social media detox, I re-emerged wondering whether there was at least a rational kernel to the gloomier predictions of the soothsayers. Both Gerard Houllier and Rafa Benitez followed seasons when they guided Liverpool to second by a series of mistakes, leading to decline and fall of the team and the end of their own tenures.  So perhaps our resident Cassandra’s comment, though premature, was not as inconceivable as my initial indignation suggested.

Which brings us to the vexed subject of our defence. Because, no matter how overblown much of the criticism that followed the West Ham defeat, what cannot be denied is that the team’s defending this season looks no better – and arguably worse – than the 2013/2014 vintage. If this issue is not resolved it threatens to be the wet rot that undermines the very real foundations of progress made under Brendan Rodgers to the point that it could become his nemesis.

The first point to make is that it cannot sensibly be suggested that the manager is indifferent to defending and has done nothing to attempt to address the problem. Adding two new full backs, a new central defender and a new goalkeeper to follow is certainly not consistent with a manager complacently sleeping on his oars. But spending is never of itself a panacea and the fact that having done so, things do not seem to be improving begs questions not just about some of the purchases but, more fundamentally, about the framework within which the manager is asking the players to operate.

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