Liverpool failed to advance to the knockout stages of the Champions League as they were held by Basel to a 1-1 draw at Anfield. The players were visibly disappointed, but their first half game deserted them, and Basel fully deserved to move to the last 16 of the presigious competition. The Swiss side held the lead for most parts of the game, but a Steven Gerrard free kick, gave the Reds the much needed impetus, and they came very close on occasions in the last 20 minutes. Here are three things we learnt from the game.

Rodgers get his starting 11 badly wrong

When you go into a game, with no option but to win, you expect an attacking line-up which can cause the opposition some trouble. Rodgers started with four midfielders, and all 4 of these players don’t give the team considerable attacking prowess. Lucas and Joe Allen are defensive minded, Steven Gerrard is not the player to be relied upon and Jordan Henderson has been off his game for a while. Raheem Sterling, the 20 year old, is the only one who tries to make things tick as Rickie Lambert is highly immobile, and now has to be exhausted starting his sixth straight game. The bench included Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic, and at least two of these players should have been included in the squad. You’re not looking for a draw, but for a win; you need goals; why would you keep all the attacking threats on the bench? Liverpool looked so much better when Lazar Markovic was brought on at half time, and despite his bizarre red card, he was one of the best players in the game, being on the pitch for just 20 minutes.

Brendan Rodgers is going to be under considerable pressure if Liverpool lose to Manchester United this weekend. He needs to improve the mindset of the Liverpool camp in training, but he first needs to sort out his own game. Getting the right players starting a game is half the battle done. He failed against Basel. Will he sort it out against United?

Liverpool need to focus solely on the Premier League, and have to start winning

The Reds worked incredibly hard last season to get the side back into the prestigious competitions, for the famous Anfield CL nights to return. All that has been given away cheaply, because Liverpool have been pathetic in their Champions League run, winning only one game against Ludogorets. And Steven Gerrard admitted his side didn’t deserve to go any further. Liverpool, however, are in the Europa League now. However, their focus has to completely shift to the Premier League. They need to win a string of games, otherwise the possibility of finishing in those places is going to completely vanish. United looked like they would be finishing poorly this season as well, but they’re now on a five match winning run, and suddenly look unstoppable. Their performances haven’t been convincing, but they’re getting the three points, which is what matters. Liverpool, too, need to start winning games and it has to start now. A decent run in the Premier League, where at least 12 points are picked out of the next five games (including Manchester United and Arsenal), and the Reds might be able to bring their season back on track. Cup competitions shouldn’t hold any significance. Liverpool players, management and fans don’t want another five year wait now, do they?

Reluctance to play Fabio Borini might cost Rodgers his job

Fabio Borini has been out of favor at Liverpool this season, ever since he blocked his summer move to Sunderland/QPR. What he did was admirable, fighting to stay and look for his place. But it is visible that Rodgers doesn’t trust him one bit. However, in a situation like the one Liverpool are in at the moment, there is no reason why Borini shouldn’t be in the match-day squad. He should, be starting games and is a better option that Rickie Lambert, due to his pacey and mobile nature. But Lambert has been very good in the previous games, and it is understandable Rodgers wants to persist with him. However, Borini should at least be on the bench, as taking on a must-win game with one striker is stupid, to say the least. After having taken off Lambert yesterday for Markovic, Rodgers had no striker available to try and look for goals. Borini is needed in the squad in the absence of Sturridge and Balotelli, and in such dire needs, is still being excluded by Rodgers due to whatever reason. That is putting the whims of your self ahead of the needs of the team. If Liverpool were to play the same way in their next few crucial matches, and Rodgers persists with leaving Borini out and having Lambert in the starting 11, the lack of goals might become a fashion, and Liverpool’s losses will increase. The Italian’s continuous exclusion from the team might end up having a huge say in the matter.

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