Champions League

Rodgers calls for Red revival

2014-12-08 21:49
Brendan Rodgers (AFP)

London - Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has told his players that Steven Gerrard shouldn't be solely responsible for inspiring another memorable Champions League night at Anfield.

Rodgers' side have to beat Basel on Tuesday to leapfrog the Swiss team in Group B and qualify for the last 16 in a decisive match which has echoes of the time Gerrard dragged Liverpool to victory against Olympiakos in 2004.

The showdown with Basel comes almost exactly 10 years after the epic victory over the Greeks when, with Liverpool needing to win by two clear goals to make the knockout stages, Gerrard fired home a powerful strike with four minutes to go to clinch a 3-1 victory.

It was the beginning of the club's march towards a famous fifth European Cup win in Istanbul against AC Milan, but Rodgers insists the next generation now need to rise to the occasion to share the burden with their influential captain.

"In terms of Steven, we can't be just reliant solely on him, this has to be about a team performance," Rodgers said on Monday.

"We need other players to step up to the mark, taking on responsibility and being a catalyst and not place it on his shoulders.

"There are few world class players around so when you are in a team that responsibility falls even more so on you but it has never been about that for us.

"For us to get a result tomorrow night we need for the team to be performing well and get a performance.

"This is a competition which has a great history here for Liverpool and the Olympiakos game was a part of that.

"It is an opportunity for the players now to qualify and make sure they write themselves into folklore by winning the game and ensuring they get into the next round - because that is the objective."- European elite -

Having fought so hard to get back among Europe's elite after a five-year absence, to crash out in the group stage would be a devastating blow to Rodgers and his players, especially given their struggle to replicate last season's challenge for the Premier League title.

That makes this one of the most important one-off ties of Rodgers' career and the Reds boss says the only time he can remember such a pressure-packed occasion was when he guided former club Swansea to victory over Reading in the 2011 Championship play-off final.

"It is a different competition and different level but the importance is still everything," Rodgers said.

"It is a game we just want to stay focused on what we have to do.

"The importance of the game is there: to get through and qualify. In my time here we have had games that were deemed as "must win" games and more times than not we have won them.

"We arrive into tomorrow night with great confidence that we can get the job done."

Having been frustrated by Sunderland in their goalless draw at the weekend Rodgers is preaching patience to both his players and fans as Basel, needing only a draw to qualify, are likely to set up in defensive fashion.

"We need that patience in the game," he said.

"They (Basle) don't need to win the game, they can sit back, so we need to be able to move the ball side to side with freedom to benefit and if we get patience from the team and the supporters that should help us to go and get the result we want.

"It is a cup competition - the final game - and if we get through we can put it to bed for a few months, and hopefully it will give us that confidence in our league form."


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