FC Basel handled struggling Liverpool a 1-0 defeat in Switzerland on Wednesday, as the Premier League club have failed to win in their last four games in all competitions.
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The game-winning moment arrived in the second half as Marco Streller scored from close range and Liverpool never got going at St. Jakob Park. The Reds started brightly but Basel’s high-energy approach forced the Reds back throughout the match and Brendan Rodgers’ side had no answer.
Basel famously drew 3-3 with Liverpool in the Champions League 12 years ago and have since beaten Tottenham, Manchester United and Chelsea in European competitions. Their stranglehold over Premier League clubs continues, as Liverpool and Basel now have one win and one defeat in Group B and are second behind Real Madrid. Worst still, Liverpool now face back-to-back matches against Madrid as their Group B fate hangs in the balance.
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Early on Liverpool looked bright as Basel were pushed back in their own half and the Swiss champions had to make an early sub as Derlis Gonzalez had to replace Behrang Safari. Raheem Sterling was booked early on for a professional foul as Basel began to expose some gaps on the break in Liverpool’s midfield.
Steven Gerrard almost let in Basel for the opening goal as Simon Mignolet bowled the ball out to Gerrard but the Liverpool skipper was caught on the ball and Marco Streller saw his shot blocked and sent wide for a corner. Elneny was found on the edge of the box in plenty of space and curled an effort towards the top corner which Mignolet saved comfortably.
Basel continued to push forward and Hamoudi hammered a shot wide of the post from the left and then Serey Die went on a mazy run but his shot was blocked by Mignolet. Lovren went close with a header just before the break but Liverpool failed to settle during the first half in Switzerland.
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In the 51st minute Hamoudi was set free down the left and hammered a low shot across Mignolet which the Belgian ‘keeper saved well and Lovren hacked away the rebound for a corner. From that set piece Streller gave Basel the lead as a header from Martin Skrtel forced his own ‘keeper to save but Streller was on hand to prod home the opener. 1-0 to Basel. It was Streller’s ninth goal in the Champions League, all of which have been for Basel, as the 33-year-old captain set the Swiss side on their way to yet another famous win against an English club.
Liverpool finally woke up and Balotelli hammered a free kick towards goal which hit Vaclik in the chest and Lazar Markovic’s follow up was blocked bravely. The Reds pushed for an equalizer late on but Basel’s defense stayed strong to shutout Liverpool and secure a deserved win.
FC Basel: Vaclik; Xhaka, Suchy, Schär, Safari (Gonzalez, 9′); Frei, Elneny, Serey Die, Hamoudi (Zuffi, 92′); Streller, Embolo (Calla, 81′)
Goal: Streller (52′)
Liverpool: Mignolet; Manquillo, Lovren, Skrtel, Enrique; Gerrard, Henderson, Coutinho (Lallana, 70′), Sterling; Markovic (Lambert, 81′), Balotelli