Belfast Telegraph

Steven Gerrard: Liverpool didn't deserve to go through to next round

By Robert Jones

A brutally honest captain Steven Gerrard admitted Liverpool could have no complaints over their Champions League exit.

The Reds crashed out of the competition as they could only manage a 1-1 draw at home to Swiss side Basel in their final Group B clash at Anfield when a win was required to finish second in the group.

Gerrard's late free-kick had given the 10-man Reds hope, cancelling out Fabian Frei's opener, but, without the red-carded Lazar Markovic from just after the hour mark, they could not find a winner.

Asked if Liverpool had deserved better from their Champions League campaign, Gerrard said: "No. We haven't gone out of the competition because of our performance tonight, we've gone out because away at Basel we weren't good enough, in our last game we conceded a stupid goal towards injury time.

"You always qualify over the six games and unfortunately we haven't been good enough."

Gerrard acknowledged the red card for Markovic, which was shown by Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers when he appeared to catch Behrang Safari in the face with his hand just 15 minutes after he had come on for Rickie Lambert in a double half-time change by manager Brendan Rodgers, proved a key moment.

"We knew if we were still in the game with 20, 25 (minutes) to go, if we could get that goal it would have been hell for Basel," he added.

"Unfortunately we just never had enough energy, enough legs in the last 15, 20, because the referee has sent him off. I haven't seen the incident, but I'm told it was very harsh."

Liverpool, without the injured Daniel Sturridge and the departed Luis Suarez, have struggled for goals this term.

Gerrard added: "What's crucial is that we try and get our main striker back who is capable of getting us the goals to get us into the top four.

"We need to try and get Mario Balotelli back firing as well. If we can get goals in the team it gives us a better chance, but at the moment it's a bit of a roller coaster, it's tough."

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