After a major overhaul over the summer, Liverpool have endured a torrid start to their campaign so far this season. Liverpool are currently languishing in 13th place in the Premier League and on early showing, it seems unlikely that the Reds will be able to make a sustained challenge for the title during the current campaign.
As a result, the midweek Champions League clash against Swiss side Basel will perhaps come as a welcome distraction for Liverpool and manager Brendan Rodgers will certainly be hoping to use the , match as a spring board to get some momentum back into their flailing campaign.
Liverpool have endured a torrid start to the season
That being said, Liverpool’s performance in their first Champions League group game against Ludogorets Razgrad last week was extremely poor and they were undoubtedly lucky to come away from the match with all three points.
Now up against an in form Basel side away from home, Liverpool certainly need to up their game if they are to avoid another blow and it will be interesting to see how the Reds perform on the day.
Mignolet has been shaky so far this season
Simon Mignolet has certainly not enjoyed the best of seasons so far. Although the Belgian shot stopper has come up with a couple of vital saves, he has not looked commanding enough in goal and does not exactly seem to transmit confidence into his defenders.
Basel are a side who certainly know their way to goal and with the Liverpool defence looking shaky at the moment, one can expect Mignolet to have a busy evening on Wednesday night.
The Liverpool defence has been atrocious this season but it has to be said that they put in a much improved performance against Everton on Saturday and can head into the game against Basel with a bit of confidence restored.
The duo of Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren seem to be finally clicking in recent weeks and it would be a surprise if Rodgers decides to change things around in central defence.
Dejan Lovren showed signs of improvement against Everton
Mamadou Sakho went AWOL after finding out he was left out of the match day squad against Everton and it seems unlikely that the Frenchman will feature in midweek due to his breach of discipline, which means that Kolo Toure will be the man providing cover if in case Skrtel and Lovren miss out.
Glen Johnson is still out with injury and Jose Enrique is struggling to get back to match fitness. Therefore, the full back positions should be occupied by the dynamic Spanish duo of Alberto Moreno and Javi Manquillo.
Steven Gerrard hit back at his critics with a good performance against Everton and the veteran looks set to marshal the Liverpool midfield once again.
The energetic Jordan Henderson will be partnering Gerrard at the middle of the park and will have a big job on his hands, especially with the Liverpool captain lacking in pace.
Steven Gerrard has been below par so far
While Rodgers may well be tempted to use Philippe Coutinho, he will probably go with Lucas to provide that extra body in midfield – considering that it is a tough away clash.
The brilliant Raheem Sterling looks a certain starter on the wings while Adam Lallana should get the nod to be deployed on the opposite flank. The likes of Suso and Fabio Borini are options for Rodgers to consider as well.
There is a huge boost for Liverpool ahead of the clash as talisman Daniel Sturridge could make his return from injury.
However, considering that Sturridge has been out for a month, Rodgers may decide against throwing him straight into the starting lineup and the England international is most likely to start from the bench.
Daniel Sturridge to make a return from injury against Basel
Therefore, Mario Balotelli looks set to be handed the nod to start once again. Balotelli has been erratic to say the least in his Liverpool career so far and has divided opinions due to his performances.
However, the Italian international has indeed shown flashes of brilliance and could well pose a problem to the Basel defenders if he is on top form. Rickie Lambert has been patiently waiting for his opportunity and will also be pushing for a start.