Any victory is likely to be down to a combination of luck, talent and the historic Anfield atmosphere, and progressing to the next stage of the European competition could be the result that kick-starts Liverpool’s faltering season.
It will not be an easy game, having already been defeated by the Swiss side once this term, but head coach Brendan Rodgers has done much to improve the side in recent weeks, building from the back to shore up an increasingly leaky defence. Performances have improved, although goals have somewhat dried up from the heights being reached last season, and four games without defeat will hardly boost the players’ confidence heading into the tie.
With Basel only needing a draw in Merseyside to secure their passage through the competition, it is highly likely the Swiss side will arrive at Anfield looking to play for a draw, and sit deep to defend their advantage. Whilst this will aid Liverpool as a defensive side - with Basel unlikely to challenge Simon Mignolet in goal - it will make it hard for the Reds' depleted strike force to truly command the game.
Facing a side who are unlikely to pose a goalscoring threat does help Liverpool, as they have been prone to conceding soft goals through defensive errors and goalkeeping mistakes, and Graeme Souness believes that has been one of the areas that has cost Rodgers’ side this term.
“It’s really hard to predict what Liverpool will do this season,” the former midfielder told Sky Sports. “They are doing the worst thing you can do in football, which is not scoring enough goals and conceding daft goals.”
Liverpool still conceded daft goals last season, but the threat of Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez could hide that problem by scoring a host of goals. However, with the duo out of the picture, it is wise for Rodgers to revert to a more defensive style in the search for stability, and their next challenge is to keep this stability as they search for their potency in front of goal once again.