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Liverpool predicted line-up to face FC Basel

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Liverpool look to qualify for the Champions League knock-out stages for the first time in six years on Tuesday night when they meet FC Basel at Anfield.

The clash is a must-win for the Reds if they are to leapfrog the Swiss champions and finish second in Group B, however, the away side need just a point in order to seal qualification.

Brendan Rodgers' men are unbeaten in four games, yet enter the tie on the back of a goalless draw against Sunderland on Saturday, a game that the Merseyside club created few chances and put in an under-par display.

Basel, on the other hand, are lie at the summit of the Swiss first division, nine points clear of Zurich FC having beaten their rivals 2-1 away at the weekend.

Paulo Sousa's men have a decent record against English teams; in 2003, they drew twice against Liverpool in the group stages of Europe's elite competition, beat Manchester United at St Jakob Park in 2011 and famously did the double over Chelsea last season.

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When the two side's met in October, Marco Streller's second-half strike gave Basel the three points and further losses to Real Madrid twice and a 2-2 draw against Ludogorets Razgrad means Liverpool have to clinch the three points in what could go down in Kop folklore.

Goalkeeper - Simon Mignolet

The Belgian has to be at his best if Liverpool are to seek qualification.

It's been a tough season for Mignolet, who's been on the end of several high-error mistakes, dropping the Reds' several points and has put his place in goal in jeopardy.

However, Rodgers has showed his faith in the 26-year-old through thick and thin and there seems no reason why he would be replaced for the clash.

He was given little to do on Saturday afternoon against the Black Cats, only making one real save when stopping Jordi Gomez's long-shot comfortably.

However, Basel pose a much bigger threat and the former Sunderland man will likely be kept on his toes for bigger periods of this clash.

Mignolet is an excellent shot-stopper and is capable of making heroic saves,but, he struggles to command his box and looks nervy when collecting the ball especially from set-pieces which could be targeted by Basel.

Right-back - Glen Johnson

Liverpool are in desperate need of a win and attacking is what's needed.

Johnson is very much an attacking minded full-back and he will be given orders to get forwards as much as possible, which he will relish.

Against Leicester, the ex-Chelsea defender posed a threat on the right-wing, showing signs he is coming back to his best form and his goal in the 1-0 win against Stoke City highlighted his commitment for the club.

Centre-back - Kolo Toure

The Ivorian has plenty of experience playing in the Champions League and that will prove useful for this tie.

Toure put in a magnificent performance in the 1-0 loss to Real Madrid and proved he can still mix with the best.

Liverpool have been crying out for a leader at the back and he's stepped well into the role, bringing composure to the defence.

He may not be as quick as he once was, but he makes up for that with his positioning and makes superb tackles and interceptions from this.

Centre-back - Martin Skrtel

Skrtel looks safer playing alongside Toure as opposed to Dejan Lovren.

The Slovakian is not a leader, but prefers to play under instructions and suits being commanded.

In Liverpool's last three games, they've conceded just one goal and there seems to be much more clarity at the back when the pair are played together.

Against Sunderland, Skrtel had a solid game and was faultless when winning the ball in the air. 

Left-back - Alberto Moreno

On Saturday, Moreno was clearly given orders to player a bit more restricted and we didn't see the attacking side to him we have previously.

However, you'd expect he will be given much more freedom given a win is the minimum needed on Tuesday. 

The Spaniard has been impressive on the attack, with his solo goal against Tottenham Hotspur being the highlight.

He has pace and power when keeping width down the left-flank and a wicked left-foot that allows him to whip crosses in that cause plenty of problems for the oppositions.

Defensive-midfield - Lucas

The Brazilian has become a key player of the Liverpool team over the past few weeks and should regain his place in the midfield.

His experience is much needed in an inexperienced Reds' team and he has matured as a footballer.

Lucas sweeps up the play well, reading it to perfection and although he's limited going forward, he's in the team to offer protection in-front of the back-four.

Despite Liverpool likely to be playing very attacking football, they still have to be wary of the class of Basel who can play on the counter-attack.

When this happened, the former Gremio man will be there to break the play up and start one for his own side.

Centre-midfield - Jordan Henderson

The Liverpool vice-captain has been struggling for a bit of form of late, however, he's been in the goals.

Against Ludogorets and Leicester, the former Sunderland man has netted deep inside the opposition's box, committing himself to his team's attacks.

Liverpool often struggle to flood penalty areas with players, but, this is something Henderson does do. He also played a superb through ball to Steven Gerrard against the Foxes with passing an improved area of the Wearside-native's game.

He too offers Rodgers work-rate in the midfield, never stopping from the first to the final whistle and can be a nuisance in the middle of the park when trying to win the ball back, causing errors due to his pressure.

Centre-midfield - Steven Gerrard

He was given a rest at the weekend in preparation for this game.

There's no doubt about how much a win will mean to Gerrard, who wants one last European Cup run at the age of 34.

Now playing further forwards, the Reds' skipper is much more suited to the role as it is less gruelling on his body.

He too can impact matches much more, with his distribution being more clinical playing neater, but killer passes, opposed to his long ball attempts that failed so often when situated just in-front of the defence.

Gerrard will be pumped up for the game and will want to inspire Liverpool. It's almost a cliche that if the Merseyside club are to reach the last 16, he will be the scorer. 

Left-wing - Raheem Sterling

The youngster had a short patch of average form, but his last two displays show he's getting back to his best.

Against Leicester, Sterling was Liverpool's best player being constantly a threat on the left-hand side and winning free-kicks in dangerous positions.

In Saturday's clash against Sunderland, he was a diamond in the rough, especially in the second-half and was unlucky not to have won a penalty late on.

The England international has pace and skill on the ball and is a menace for defenders. 

If Liverpool are to gain a famous win, he will likely play a massive role and could seriously announce himself on the world stage with a man of the match performance.

Right-wing - Adam Lallana

Since his £25 million move from Southampton, Lallana has been consistent for the Reds.

The play-maker is good with the ball at both feet and his goal at the King Power last week was well kept down.

Lallana works hard throughout matches and that will be needed when Basel are in possession.

He too has a good understanding with Rickie Lambert, as shown when they combined against Crystal Palace and their partnership could be key for a Liverpool victory.

Striker - Rickie Lambert

The boyhood Liverpool fan dreamed of nights like this as a child and will now get a chance to play in one.

In the absence of Mario Balotelli, Lambert has done extremely well, notching a couple of goals and putting in some decent displays.

He will run his socks off on Tuesday night, working hard to win the ball when not in possession.

He didn't suit playing with Philippe Coutinho just off him on Saturday, however, his performance against Leicester suggests this system would be catered to him.

Lambert has an excellent first touch and vision to play an intelligent pass and expect him to do both throughout against Basel.

The 32-year-old too offers Liverpool an alternative style of play if things aren't going to play, as they can whip crosses aimed at him.

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Topics:
UEFA Champions League
Liverpool
Raheem Sterling
Premier League
Football
Steven Gerrard

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