This is Kop’s Real chance, warns Borini

Midweek Sport - - SPORT -

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.

Pres­sure

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.

Tempo

“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

CROCKED: Stur­ridge

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