The Reds drew yet another game they really should have won. Again like Saturday though the second half was stale and lacked invention and width.
The reds kicked off attacking the Anfield Road end and were on the attack from the start. John Arne Riise hit his shot goalwards inside the first minutes of the game off the bar and the rebound just wouldn't come down to anyone. The reds seemed to have the better pace about them with the Swiss side bypassed. Possession though doesn't get you any more points than not having it if you don't turn that into goals though and the shot shy Reds are there own worst enemy at the moment.
Baros worked hard up front and was the only striker on the pitch who looked dangerous. The first half saw the Reds full backs pushing up high to the halfway line and forcing the play forwards but that final bit of creativity wasn't always there. The final cross lacked when we ever bothered with width to the game. Bruno Cheyrou hit a free kick just over the bar whilst Both Baros and Riise hit the woodwork in the first half which suggests poor luck.
Basle were never really there as an attacking threat in the game overall with Hyypia and Henchoz coping easily with their one man strikeforce. What lacked was that extra bite in the midfield to counter act their five midfielders and often throughout the game the second ball was always won easily by the opposition.
The Reds though did take the lead and it should have been the catalyst for the rest of the game. A break down the left saw Baros start a one two with Heskey. The return ball was a awful but the quality of Baros ensured that it was sent past a stranded keeper. The goal source was the only one likely from up front all night and all too often even Baros along with Owen put their heads down and ran at goal when players such as Murphy picked up some great positions.
The half should have ended three nil but the reds wasted the chances and paid for it when Basel hit an equaliser shortly before half time. Stephane Henchoz made a mess of trying to the get the ball in the centre circle and once the ball had bounced over him he was stranded up field. Rossi collected a through ball and evaded Carragher to shoot through Dudeks legs from an acute angle. The goal silenced an already quiet Kop and sent the Swiss fans mad.
The away fans on the night were the only fans who seemed to make any noise. Many Reds say the euro nights are the better ones for atmosphere but after last night a non capacity crowd were very silent. So much so that Basel even sang 'You only sing when you're winning' at the kop.
The second half was a poor spectacle to watch and can easily be summed up by the words sloppy and no width. The sloppiness came in alot of the passing moves from the Reds where short passes were tapped so short that we lost possession. The game was crying out for width but the Reds had no-one who could offer genuine width to the side. Emile Heskey was playing on the left of midfield and was absolutely wasted. Owen was offering very little up front last night. The last few games have seen him work hard but even that seemed to lack on the night on the obvious move would have been to replace him with Babbel - re-shape the defence and push Riise up to midfield and Heskey up front.
The moves that did come were to see Diouf replace Heskey and for him to come up with the same problem as Emile and Berger to replace Owen to at least push Diouf up front. None of the subs had any great influence on the game although at least Diouf, when he finally trapped the ball did try and run at his man. Diouf produced one superb shot from the left but it was spectacularly pushed round the post for a corner.
The second half especially lacked movement, invention and width and on that sort of form will be looking to the UEFA Cup as third in this mini league. Yes they are creating chances in the first half but they are also switching off sometimes and then later in game simply standing still. Overall a poor night in front of a non capacity crowd which was poor and the Kop were very quiet on the night.
MotM : Baros - the striker looked lively throughout and was the only place the goal was coming from. He was unlucky not to score on a few other occasions as well.