BASEL 1 – 0 LIVERPOOL
Liverpool have lost their first Champions League game of the season. We’d been doing well in this competition so far, having started off with a win against Bulgarian champions Ludogorets but when we faced Swiss side Basel at their own stadium, there just wasn’t a player on the pitch who could put the ball in the net… and if you don’t score, you don’t WIN! That’s one of the most basic “golden rules” in football.
You MUST score to win. Even in competitions where a 0-0 draw could get you extra time and then a penalty shoot out, you would eventually have to score more penalties than the opposition to win. It’s undeniable. YOU HAVE TO SCORE TO WIN.
Liverpool’s options on goalscorers have really been limited lately, with injuries not helping our cause. Daniel Sturridge (who scored 21 goals last season, 2nd highest goalscorer in the league) has had to watch from the sidelines as he was injured when he hurt his thigh in an international training session with England. Roy Hodgson was mostly to blame for that, due to excessive training regimes that Sturridge just couldn’t handle.
The sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona left other strikers with an awful lot of pressure to keep doing what Suarez did – score, score, and score many more! The 31 goals that were scored by Suarez last season would now most likely have to come from a collection of different players if we are to equal or break that record this season since we really did not have any one player that could get that many goals, it seemed.
Brendan Rodgers had not forgotten that our main goalscorer had now left Liverpool and gone off to Spain in the summer transfer window. Far from it. Liverpool’s manager made multiple signings who were all capable of scoring goals. He signed Rickie Lambert – a former Southampton striker and lifelong reds fan who played with Liverpool’s youth team and had dreamed for many years to get the chance to play for Liverpool’s first team. He is even a real scouser (born in Kirkby, Liverpool). His desire to score for the club will be very high, local lads DREAM of scoring at Anfield in front of the home crowd.
Rodgers also brought in another Southampton player – Adam Lallana. He’s not a striker (more of an attacking midfielder), but he knows how to score, his form being the only obstacle in the pursuit of this achievement. Emre Can was imported from Germany’s Bundesliga but unfortunately, he has also been struck with injury this season.
Lazar Markovic was another player brought in to create and score goals. He has been given the chance of a lifetime to play for one of the biggest clubs in one of the biggest leagues in the world and his job description as striker will be simple – play well and put the ball in the NET. I’d say he’s managed the “play well” part of that so far this season, but it’s the “put the ball in the net” part that has been eluding him in many of our games as we progress in both the Champions League, League Cup and Premier League now.
Mario Balotelli’s transfer was a very exciting one. It was expected by most reds fans that as soon as he arrived at the club, we may not have to worry very often about goals being scored, he would most likely be doing that regularly. However, so far this season, he has only scored two penalties in the Capital One Cup and one goal in the Champions League. Mario has yet to score for his club in a Premier League game, we still wait for him to smash that record and get himself a goal in a league game soon. Hopefully, the first of many.
To be fair to Mario, we really shouldn’t be too negative about him not making a HUGE impact at the club yet. Patience will be required by reds fans as we wait for more goals and better performances from him as we make our way through the season in different competitions. He deserves that from us.
We want the same thing from ALL of these new players. Good performances and GOALS. If the players can provide those things on a regular basis, victory will happen. Many times over. The team will be ADORED and people will sing the names of the players around Liverpool, loud and proud for all to hear.
BACK TO THE GAME… Liverpool had their chances in both halves with goals by Sterling and Balotelli both being ruled offside (to be fair to the match officials – there was no contest, the linesman was correct both times). They simply couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities, they were all wasted and ultimately it cost us the game.
The only goal of the game (that counted) was early into the second half and it was quite a sloppy one, a pass back from very close range (less than ten yards) to the goalkeeper from a defender (I think perhaps Skrtel) forced Simon Mignolet to react quickly, but instead of catching and holding it, he only managed to palm the ball out to the Basel player (Marco Streller) who was waiting inside of the 6 yard box to tap in the rebound for the winning goal of the game. Basel still have to travel to Liverpool to face us at Anfield now and it won’t be so easy to get themselves another victory with over forty thousand reds fans behind our team. Real Madrid are now the only team in our group who have yet to play us this season, but we soon will face them as we make our way through the Champions League fixture list.
Our next game will be a Premier League fixture against West Bromwich Albion at Anfield on Saturday afternoon (3 PM kickoff).
For now, I only ask of the reds fans that even during the hard times (when we lose), you do not jump to negative conclusions (that we need to sell players or sack the manager for example). Not every game of the season will be a victory or draw – we’ll lose some games along the way. However, all we must do is WALK ON, WITH HOPE IN OUR HEARTS… AND YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE.
[Written by] Stuart Drewery.
I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family, including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so i was born into being a red.
I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (about 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s.
I’m a die hard Liverpool fan (only supported ONE club in my whole life, Liverpool) and one of the most dedicated fans you’ll ever meet.