This is Kop’s Real chance, warns Borini
LIVERPOOL have been warned that beating Basel is key to their Champions League destiny.
Reds striker Fabio Borini believes the trip to Switzerland will be vital to putting the Kop outfit in a strong position going into the double-header with European champions Real Madrid.
Brendan Rodgers’ side had to scrap all the way before Steven Gerrard bagged an injury-time penalty winner against Bulgarian minnows Ludogorets.
Swiss league leaders Basel were smashed 5-1 by Real at the Bernabeu in their opener and Borini is demanding a positive result to move six points ahead of the Swiss outfit.
The Italian said: “It would give us confidence to face one of the biggest teams in the world in the next game, and give us a good gap between the other two teams.
“It would maybe give us a chance to be more relaxed against Madrid and not thinking that we need to win otherwise we are out. It would take a little bit of pressure off.
“We saw that Basel can score goals if they take all their chances. If they are more clinical, they can be dangerous, even if they lost 5-1 against Real Madrid. It’s going to be a hard game because they are a good side.
“They have been in the Champions League for the past few years, so they have experience in the competition.”
Liverpool’s hopes have been hit by striker Daniel Sturridge still missing through injury.
The England star has been struggling with a thigh problem and will not be risked, leaving Rodgers with a choice between Borini, Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert in attack.
Rodgers has also left French defender Mamadou Sakho out of his squad after the centre-back departed Anfield early having been left out of the 18-man squad for Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Everton. Borini snubbed summer moves to Sunderland and QPR to attempt to nail down a first-team spot.
And the 23-year-old reckons Liverpool need time to adjust after five seasons out of Europe’s top competition.
He claims the Champions League is a totally different test to the Premier League, but is sure the Reds will eventually thrive.
Borini added: “It’s going to be a hard, as it was against Ludogorets because we won 2-1 in the last minute and it wasn’t easy.
“It was a good experience. I’ve played in the Champions League before and it was good, so it’s nice to see the club back after so many years.
“They are not like English games – they are completely different in the tempo and control. Tactically, it is harder than in England.
“Playing more together is going to help to gel all of the new players and the style of play that we want to play here.
“That’s going to take time, as is learning a new language for some of the new lads.”
TESTING: Borini and Rodgers know they’ve got a double against Real Madrid coming next in Europe