Belfast Telegraph

Down and out Brendan Rodgers' Champions League dream collapses

By Jim Gracey

Beleagured Brendan Rodgers faces battles on three fronts as his Anfield dream job unravels.

His 10-man Liverpool side crashed out of the Champions League in a toothless 1-1 draw at home to Swiss side Basel.

The Carnlough man now must contend with the distraction of Europa League football as he bids for a Premiership top four place to return to the Champions League next season, while he also fights to keep Kop legend Steven Gerrard whose late equaliser last night was not enough to keep Liverpool in the Euro elite.

Defiant Rodgers responded: "We have to fight going forward to be in this competition next season. We are not too far off the top four and, if we get there, we will be better in it next season. The possibility of January signings is something to discuss with the owners, but there was a big investment in the summer.

"We have been unlucky with injuries to key players who are important to the way that we play, but that is to take nothing away from the players tonight who have put everything into the game."

Liverpool's cause wasn't helped by the dismissal of sub Lazar Markovic who clearly flung an arm at Swiss opponent Behramg Safari.

But Rodgers contended: "It was an awful decision. I thought the referee was poor to say the least."

FULL STORY: PAGES 58-59

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