Liverpool must invoke the spirit of 2005 for pivotal Basel clash

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Liverpool’s fly-or-die encounter against Basel in the Champions League Group B decider conjures memories of that famous night at Anfield in 2005, when Steven Gerrard smashed one home from 20 yards to send his side through against Olympiacos amid wild hysteria.

That year the Reds went on to lift the tournament’s trophy in yet more memorable scenes in Istanbul, but at this stage the current Liverpool vintage will just take escaping what has been a needlessly difficult group to traverse.

In order to do that Brendan Rodgers’ men must beat Basel, who only need a draw to progress themselves, at odds of 8/11 with Ladbrokes. That would a simple enough task if the side’s form wasn’t as patchy as a sewing student’s quilt, but we’ve come up with a couple of ways the Premier League silver medallists can achieve it:

Hark back to the outgunning days of last season 

No other result other than a win will do for Liverpool, which should help to banish their defensive shortcomings for one night only.

Safe in the knowledge that all they need to do is hit the back of the net more times than their Swiss opponents, Liverpool can rekindle the memories of last season’s goal-getting in their pursuit of the knockout stages.

Sacrifice a defender quickly if Basel park the bus 

The visitors have shipped just two goals in their last four Champions League outings and with a draw enough to see them into the next round, they could be tempted to lean heavily on their solid defensive foundations to earn the result.

In the 2005 Olympiacos game, the Reds needed to win by two to qualify and were one down at the break. Rafa Benitez responded by replacing Djimi Traore with Florent Sinama Pongolle and the rest is history. Rodgers should take note.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.