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Basel coach Sousa has no intention of playing it safe

By Carl Markham

Basel coach Paulo Sousa intends to test Liverpool's resolve to see if they can handle the pressure of their must-win Champions League encounter. The Reds need victory at Anfield to progress to the knockout stages but a point will be enough to put the Swiss through at their expense.

The Reds need victory at Anfield to progress to the knockout stages but a point will be enough to put the Swiss through at their expense.

Even though they have claimed back-to-back clean sheets in their last two home matches, Liverpool's confidence remains fragile and Sousa has no intention of playing for a draw.

"We want to put them under pressure because in the last game (their 1-0 win in Switzerland) we were controlling possession and created good opportunities," said Sousa.

"That is something we want to have at Anfield. Lots of personality, ambition, intensity in our game with and without the ball, and create difficulties which will allow us to have opportunities to score in the game.

"We will put them under more pressure and hopefully we can have another magical night where the performance will be outstanding and the result of the game will be in our favour.

"I am always looking for a win. In my leadership and feedback to the players it is always about playing to win."

There has been much debate in recent weeks about the capabilities of Liverpool's 34-year-old captain Steven Gerrard but Sousa is looking forward to seeing him in the starting line-up tonight.

"As a man of football I love to see the biggest protagonists on the pitch and he is one of the biggest," he added.

"I am happy for my players to take on the challenge of a player like him."

Former Reds defender Philipp Degen is in the Basel squad and he has fond memories of Gerrard and Anfield.

"He was - is - for me THE Liverpool player, both on and off the pitch and a great personality at this club," said the full-back.

"When I was here he was the man I went to when I had questions.

"It is always special to play here and it is a Champions League night where it is a matter of all or nothing.

"It is a special thing when they sing You'll Never Walk Alone in the stands so there is motivation for us here to make sure we go through to the last 16 of the competition."

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