Ludogorets’ late equaliser against Liverpool had no impact on Champions League Group B permutations, but it did serve to underline the defensive frailties that have dogged the Reds all season.
These deficiencies were ruthlessly exploited by Real Madrid at Anfield earlier in the competition, where Los Blancos scored three first-half goals in cruising to a 3-0 victory over Brendan Rodgers’ men.
The corresponding fixture in the Bernabeu didn’t run as smoothly – Los Merengues won it 1-0 – but the two meetings with Liverpool allowed Real supremo Carlo Ancelotti to draw the conclusion that it’s Basel, not the Merseysiders who will follow them into the competition’s knockout phase.
“I think Basel are currently better than Liverpool,” said the former Chelsea tactician, “I see a small advantage for Basel for the last round.”
Having spied a discrepancy in qualities, the Italian will agree that the 6/5 about Basel progressing to the last-16 is an excellent price.
They only need a draw at Anfield to take the remaining qualification place after all, which makes the hopelessly short 3/5 that says Liverpool – for whom victory is paramount – will oust them well worth swerving.
In case you hadn’t guessed, we here at news.bwin.com/en/ reckon Ancelotti has nailed it, Basel are better than the Reds at the moment – here’s why:
Liverpool have conceded a staggering 13 goals from set pieces this term.
Looking at Basel’s previous 15 matches, they’ve conceded 13 in total.
Clearly, the Swiss can be relied upon at the back, unlike Rodgers’ charges, which makes it fairly safe to assume they’ll bag on matchday six.
Worryingly for the hosts, the Rotblau have prevailed in each of the previous five games in which they’ve rustled the net.
Despite these obvious concerns, Liverpool’s biggest concerns are in attack.
With just six league goals bagged, there are only two divisional foes that have scored fewer on their own patch than the Reds.
Basel have called the scoreboard operator into action in all bar one of their road games this term, so it stands to reason that Liverpool – who have no clean sheets in this competition – will need to score at least twice in order to land the win they crave against Switzerland’s strongest.
They’ve done this just once at home since early October, while they’re yet to strike three times in front of their own fans this season.