LIVERPOOL (Sporting Alert) — Captain Steven Gerrard returns to the starting lineup for Liverpool in tonight’s must win Champions League game against Basel in Group B at Anfield.
Gerrard, who started on the bench in the weekend’s 0-0 tie with Sunderland, is back in the Liverpool midfield and he’s joined by Joe Allen, who also returns to the starting XI.
Lucas Leiva and Jordan Henderson also starting as well.
Rickie Lambert will lead the attack for the Reds, with speedy attacker Raheem Sterling acting as the main support to his fellow Englishman.
Defenders Jose Enrique and Dejan Lovren are also in the backline for Liverpool, who must beat Basel to jump ahead of them in the race for the final knock-out round slot from the group.
The players making way are Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho and Alberto Moreno all dropped to the bench, while central defender Kolo Toure has been ruled out because of a groin problem.
Liverpool continue to be without strikers Mario Balotelli and Daniel Sturridge, who are still injured which is frustrating for manager Brendan Rodgers, but the boss didn’t even name Fabio Borini to his bench.
Dangerous forward Marco Streller is amongst the starters tonight for a very confident Basel, while starting on the bench for the Swiss champions is former Liverpool defender Philipp Degen.
The English Premier League side needs all three points on the night, but Rodgers says they won’t be going all out looking for it from the opening whistle.
“We don’t need to win the game in the first minute, I think that is the key,” the English coach said. “European football is technical and tactical and it is understanding that we just need to win the game – we have 90 minutes plus to do that.
“We have to maintain our patience, play a good technical game – which is what this team has been used to in the past couple of seasons – and, for the tactical element, we always have to have our concentration and focus.
“If we can do that, I believe we have a great chance, aligned with the supporters and the passion they put in.”
Liverpool v Basel
Liverpool XI: Mignolet, Johnson, Enrique, Lovren, Skrtel, Lucas, Allen, Henderson, Gerrard, Sterling, Lambert. Subs: Jones, Sakho, Moreno, Can, Lallana, Coutinho, Markovic
Basel XI: Vaclik, Xhaka, Schar, Suchy, Safari, Elneny, Frei, Zuffi, Gonzalez, Streller, Gashi. Subs: Vailati, Degen, Samuel, Delgado, Diaz, Hamoudi, Embolo.