Liverpool can secure six points from their first two Champions League games with a win in Switzerland tonight vs FC Basel. Kick-off from St Jacob-Park is at 7:45pm, Dan Dalton previews this crucial game for the Reds.
FC Basel struggled in their opening Champions League encounter, being overpowered by the likes of Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo they suffered a 5-1 hammering to Carlo Ancelotti’s men. The Swiss side however have started their domestic season in impressive fashion winning seven games from ten and they sit two points clear at the top of the Swiss league.
Liverpool have failed to hit the heights of last season and needed a last minute Steven Gerrard penalty to secure three vital points for the Reds against Bulgarian minnows Ludogorets. Liverpool currently sit in 13th place in the Premier League and a last gasp Phil Jagielka strike denied Brendan Rodgers’ side a much needed three points at the weekend.
The experienced Swiss striker is now captain of this FC Basel side and they will look to the leadership and goal scoring prowess of the former Stuttgart striker tonight. The 33-year-old may not be the quickest but his physical power could unsettle this Liverpool defence.
The 6ft 5In striker scored the winner against Chelsea in last year’s Champions League encounter. The former Swiss international scored 12 goals in 37 caps for his national side and has been plying his trade with FC Basel since 2007.
The England international is a key player for Brendan Rodgers, especially with Daniel Sturridge missing through injury. Liverpool will hope that the pace and endless ability of the talented 19-year-old can open up this FC Basel defence tonight
Sterling has scored three goals so far in this year’s Premier League and the young midfielder will be hoping to open his account in Europe tonight. Basel could struggle to deal with the lightning pace of Sterling if Liverpool counter attack at pace.
Expected Starting XI’s
Basel: Vaclik; Safari, Suchy, Schar; Schar, Aliji, Gashy, Serey Die, El Nenny, Streller, Gonzalez
Liverpool: Mignolet; Manquillo, Lovren, Skrtel, Moreno; Gerrard, Henderson; Sterling, Lallana, Coutinho; Balotelli
FC Basel have performed admiraly in recent years against English side and they did defeat Chelsea last year at St Jacob-Park, however they are not quite as strong in recent years and if Liverpool can put in a similar performance to the one against Everton they can gain the vital three points that would put them in pole position to qualify from this group.
Lallana, Sterling and Coutinho are all likely to start and if all three can perform Liverpool should do enough to secure a win in Switzerland.
This writer is predicting a 3-1 win for Liverpool in what is a crucial tie for Brendan Rodgers’ side.
Dan Dalton, Pundit Arena.
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