A place in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League is up for grabs when Liverpool FC and FC Basle 1893 meet at Anfield Tuesday night.
Second in Group B with a two-point advantage over the Reds, Basle need only draw to secure their first knockout-stage appearance since 2011/12. Liverpool require three points to reach the round of 16 for the first time since 2008/09.
Basle will be through if they draw, even if Ludogorets win, due to their superior head-to-head record. Liverpool will be through if they win. If they do not win they will finish third as long as Ludogorets do not pick up more points.
In the 2002/03 first group stage, Basle drew 1-1 at Anfield on Matchday Two. They then led Liverpool 3-0 at home on Matchday Six only for the Reds to earn a 3-3 draw with a second-half fightback. Steven Gerrard played in both games but was substituted at halftime in Basle.
For Liverpool, the 3-3 result was not enough Basle still beat them to second place in the group by a point. Liverpool have gone four games without a win in the UEFA Champions League since defeating PFC Ludogorets Razgrad with a stoppage-time Gerrard penalty on Matchday One. The last time the Reds went five European games without a win was the 2001/02 second group stage.
This match falls almost ten years ago to the day since Liverpool last played a win-or-bust final group fixture at Anfield in the UEFA Champions League. On 8 December 2004 they came from behind to beat Olympiacos FC 3-1, Gerrard scoring their third goal, and went on to win the trophy.
Liverpool suffered their heaviest European home defeat when losing 3-0 to Real Madrid CF on Matchday Three. Indeed, the Reds have lost four of their last six UEFA Champions League games at Anfield. Liverpool drew 2-2 with BSC Young Boys when last hosting Swiss opposition in the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League group stage. Martin Škrtel and Jordan Henderson started, Gerrard and Raheem Sterling coming off the bench.
If Liverpool win they will qualify with seven points, the same total they achieved in their last group stage campaign in 2009/10 when they finished third. Basle are still seeking their first away points after defeats at Madrid (1-5) and Ludogorets (0-1).
In five previous campaigns in the UEFA Champions League and four in the UEFA Europa League, Basle have always taken at least one point on their travels. Basle have won their last four games against English Premier League opposition in the UEFA Champions League, including the 1-0 home success against Liverpool on Matchday Two. Indeed, they have lost just once in nine meetings with English opposition in the competition.
The Swiss title holders earned their first win in England at the tenth attempt when beating Chelsea FC 2-1 at Stamford Bridge in last season’s group stage.
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