LIVERPOOL 1 – 1 BASEL
It is with a heavy heart that I must discuss how Liverpool have been knocked out of the Champions League with you. I feel like saying “sorry” to all the disappointed reds who have gone through this difficult time for the club, but it’s not actually me who should be apologising for Liverpool being knocked out of this competition – it’s the players and the manager who owe you all an apology.
This was not a “surprise”. Liverpool knew what was at stake and exactly what they had to do – this was a “MUST WIN” game, we could not qualify if we drew or lost and that was made clear before the game even kicked off. We failed to achieve what was necessary tonight. Three points and a win was “all” we needed for our qualification to the knockout stages of this competition. No win, no qualification. “Simples”.
The way we ended up with 5 points after all our games were played hasn’t been all about the game we played tonight. It’s about all 6 games, not just the last one. We can’t point fingers solely at this game, we need to look back at the defeats and losses we already went through to fully explain the failure that is not qualifying for the last 16. Performance isn’t the only factor, also. There are injuries to consider as well – we surely would have won more games if Sturridge had been available for us in the starting 11 of our Champions League games. Fitness concerns have been incredibly problematic for us this season and they are also a part of why we have not qualified.
Steven Gerrard had been rested in our last game in order to provide us with a fully fit captain for this game. We had fielded as strong a team as we could, though I personally would have started Moreno due to the fact that he’s an experienced player in European competition. The rest of the Liverpool starting 11 seemed equipped to start a Champions League game and (I believed they could) win it.
Perhaps it was fate that our opponents scored first. We had been through this kind of situation before (against Olympiakos), when we were forced to win our last group game to qualify for the knockout rounds of the Champions League. Though they scored first, we ended up equalizing against and then scoring enough goals to take a lead and beat Olympiakos, qualifying eventually. I thought it would go the same way, I wasn’t very worried (after they had scored their goal) due to these facts. It was only by the end of the 90 minutes had gone by that I felt particularly worried. I always thought we were going to get more goals than we did. Once they had gotten one goal, we needed to get two for winning the game and qualifying. I had confidence this was going to happen, but it never turned out as I had expected.
Injury time was nerve-wrecking. I was also rather angry at the referee who had not only sent off Lazar Markovic for a foul that probably should have just been awarded a yellow card and then went on to deny us a penalty which if given, would have surely placed us one goal ahead of our opponents (assuming Gerrard would have still scored his free kick) and made the score 2-1 instead of the draw we got. I am quite sure that over the years in the future when I will be looking back on these moments, I’ll have severe resentment towards the referee (Bjorn Kuipers from the Netherlands) who played his part in ruining Liverpool’s chances of qualification to last 16 of the Champions League. That and amazement at how good Gerrard’s free kick was (though it could only help us get a draw and not a win, it was still special).
All we can do for now is look to the near future. We have a large Premier League fixture against Manchester United coming up and also a Capital One Cup game against Bournemouth, which will provide a semi final cup appearance for our club if we can win. Getting too wrapped up in the failure of crashing out of this competition will only cause negative effects for us all, we must keep a positive mentality to move on and succeed in other areas.
Please, if you can – walk on with hope in your hearts and remember – You’ll Never Walk Alone, Reds. Your Anfield Family is walking with you.
[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.