LIVERPOOL (Sporting Alert) — Liverpool must beat Basel FC on Tuesday night to advance from the UEFA Champions League group stages, and Sky Bet backs the Premier League strugglers at 11/8 be knocked out.
Brendan Rodgers’ team sits third in the Group B standing with six points, two behind second-place Basel, and the hosts need a victory at Anfield to finish as the runner-up to run-away group winners Real Madrid.
But given their current form and the fact that they have lost four of previous six Champions League games at home, bookmakers and football pundits are tipping Liverpool to get dumped.
Still, Rodgers says he is confident that his team can shake off the negativity and win on Tuesday as they seek to “write themselves into club history.”
“We would have taken [being in this position] when the draw was made,” the manager said at his press conference. “Tomorrow night will be a great night and, obviously, it is up to us to get the job done.
“This is a competition that has a great history here for Liverpool and it is a chance for the players to qualify and make sure they write themselves into folklore by winning the game and ensuring they get into the next round.”
Basel manager Paulo Sousa revealed that it would be a “dream” if his team made it into the knockout round and Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti is backing the Swiss champions to earn the point needed to progress on the road.
The travelers, according to UEFA, have won seven of its last eight contests and have only conceded twice in their last seven outings.
“I think Basel are currently better than Liverpool,” the Italian told reporters after his team had won against the Swiss leaders last month.
“I see a small advantage for Basel for the last round.”
Liverpool are still struggling to find the back of the net without Daniel Sturridge, who is injured and Luis Suarez, who was sold to Barcelona in the summer. Ex-Reds defender Jamie Carragher also admits on Sky Sports that he doesn’t know where his former teammate will get their goals from.
Meanwhile, Sousa acknowledged Liverpool’s history and the work Rodgers has done since taking over.
However, the manager, although not making bold predictions, is backing his team to go out and get the job done.
“We know the realities. We know they are a historic club and we know about everything around them – the investments, the quality of the players and the number of years Brendan Rodgers has been there, so he knows the environment,” Sousa said.
“But despite that, our club year-by-year is having success. We have the ambition and courage to keep being successful.
“….Our players are more solid and clearer in everything we do and we are in a good moment, and hopefully we perform well and put Liverpool under pressure.”
The Reds are 6/4 to lose in the last 16.