Was That The Worst Liverpool Performance In Europe Ever?
Basel 1 Liverpool 0
Seriously, the only reason I can think of why I managed to write this so quickly after that game is just so I could be the first to use the appalling phrase ‘Basel. Faulty.” Life's little victories, eh?
As redeeming features go that’s frankly a bit poor. A bit poor. If only Liverpool had been ‘a bit poor’ tonight. Basel were ‘a bit poor’ and, thereby, infinitely better than Liverpool. Liverpool were woeful. I’m sure that I’ve seen worse European performances than this (I must have, I’m fifty - I’ve seen lots of European performances). I can’t think of any off the top of my head.
It’s getting harder and harder to delude myself that everything’s going to be alright - big ‘Hi’ to the guy that followed me on Twitter to tell me how deluded I am at this point - but I still think we’ll be okay. In the long run. When Sturridge is back. When Allen is back. When the tempo is back. And the desire and the intensity and the creativity. When everything that’s missing at the moment is back basically.
We’re missing everything. We’re not missing Suarez, we’re missing everything. There’s no ambition, no confidence, no creativity, no bite, no movement, no fluidity, nothing. We can’t string more than two passes together. Our movement is terrible. At its best, our shape was non existent. At its worst, it was neglecting the concept of shape altogether.
And when we did manage to move forward with pace, when we did manage to mount an attack, our final ball was terrible. Most of the time our first ball was so poor that it became - by definition - our final ball but when we managed to find a position where a final ball would be useful we managed to make the wrong choice or simply play a ball of such woeful inadequacy that it shrivelled the viewing soul.
Sterling was good at running. Terrible at shooting and passing but good at running. Balotelli was very Balotelli. We need to get used to the idea that we’ll get flashes of Mario, flashes like the free kick that would have been a wonder goal if only the keeper hadn’t managed to fling his arms in the right general direction. We’ll get flashes of Mario, we’ll never get 90 minutes - that’s not the player he is.
I’m not sure what sort of a player Lazar Markovic is yet. Again, the lad put in a shift. Again, he can’t pass or cross or shoot. Can’t half break forward though. Stick something on the end of all that breaking forward and we might have something. Lallana came on and was nearly a difference for a few minutes and then the game faded away.
The back four did that thing where they don’t deal with a corner again. Skrtel headed sideways, Lovren’s arse got in the way, Mignolet made a hell of a save - a save that he had no right to get to - but only pushed it as far as Basel’s ridiculously tall forward.
One-nil. We were, as the very old joke goes, lucky to get nil.
Basel have beaten United at home in the Champions League. Basel ‘did’ Chelsea home and away last season which doesn’t defend or explain a second of tonight’s embarrassing showing, only serving to remind me that I don't pay attention to Chelsea's European matches.
We’ve got issues. I think I’m right in pointing out - repeatedly - what I think the solutions are. I think I’m right in constantly claiming that we’ll be okay.
I hope to God I am right, otherwise it’s going to be a long sad season.