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UCL PREVIEW: It is all or nothing for Liverpool at Anfield

UCL PREVIEW: It is all or nothing for Liverpool at Anfield
December 09
07:45 2014
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Qualification for the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League (UCL) is up for grabs when Liverpool and Basel meet at Anfield in final group match.

Basel are second in Group B with a two-point advantage over the Reds, and need only draw to secure their first knockout-stage appearance since 2011/12.

Liverpool require three points to reach the round of 16 for the first time since 2008/09.

The Zurich side will be through if they draw, even if Ludogorets beat Real Madrid in the other game in the group, due to their superior head-to-head record.

In Group A, Juventus host leaders Atletico Madrid looking to take the final step towards qualification for the last 16.

The Bianconeri have a three-point advantage over third-placed Olympiacos and will be guaranteed progress with a draw.

To qualify as group winners – leapfrogging Atletico in the process – they need to beat the Spanish side by a margin of two goals or more.

Atletico are already through and their 1-0 home win against Juventus on match day two means they can afford to lose by a single goal and still clinch top spot.

In Group C, second-placed Monaco have home advantage as they try to resist the challenge of Zenit, who are third, and earn the draw they need to qualify for the knockout rounds.

Below are the match backgrounds to Tuesday’s key games.

LIVERPOOL V BASEL

  • Liverpool have gone four games without a win in the UCL since defeating Ludogorets with a stoppage-time Steven Gerrard penalty on match day one. The last time the Reds went five European games without a win was the 2001/02 second group stage.
  • This match falls almost ten years ago to the day since Liverpool last played a win-or-bust final group fixture at Anfield in the UCL. On December 8, 2004 they came from behind to beat Olympiacos 3-1, Gerrard scoring their third goal, and went on to win the trophy.
  • Liverpool suffered their heaviest European home defeat when losing 3-0 to Real Madrid on match day three. Indeed, the Reds have lost four of their last six UCL games at Anfield.
  • Liverpool drew 2-2 with Young Boys when last hosting Swiss opposition in the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League group stage.
  • The Barclays Premier League side’s home record against Swiss clubs is W3 D2 L0.
  • If Liverpool win they will qualify with seven points, the same total they achieved in their last group stage campaign in 2009/10 when they finished third.
  • Basel are still seeking their first away points after defeats at Madrid (1-5) and Ludogorets (0-1).
  • In five previous campaigns in the UCL and four in the UEFA Europa League, Basel have always taken at least one point on their travels.
  • Basel have won their last four games against BPL opposition in the UCL, including the 1-0 home success against Liverpool on match day two. Indeed, they have lost just once in nine meetings with English opposition in the competition.
  • The Swiss title holders earned their first win in England at the tenth attempt when beating Chelsea 2-1 at Stamford Bridge in last season’s group stage. Their overall record on English soil is W1 D4 L6.

JUVENTUS V ATLETICO

  • Juventus are unbeaten in nine home matches in UEFA competition, including the Group A victories over Malmo (2-0) and Olympiacos (3-2).
  • Overall, the Bianconeri have lost just one of 14 European home fixtures at the redeveloped Juventus Stadium (W8 D5 L1).
  • Juventus have an excellent record in 20 previous meetings with Spanish visitors: W12 D6 L2.
  • Atletico have won five of their last eight UCL away games, including a 2-0 triumph at Malmo on match day four.
  • Atletico’s away record against Serie A clubs is W4 D1 L4. This includes a 1-0 victory at AC Milan in last season’s round of 16.

MONACO V ZENITH

  • This is Monaco’s sixth group stage campaign and their first since 2004/05, when they reached the round of 16. They were runners-up the previous year.
  • The French side are back in European competition this season after an absence of nine years.
  • Last season’s Ligue 1 runners-up have had three home games against Russian opponents – all from Moscow – in European competition, losing the first but winning the other two.
  • Monaco began the campaign with a 1-0 home win against Bayer Leverkusen and continued to struggle for goals in the two games with Benfica, drawing 0-0 at home before going down 1-0 away.
  • Last time out they gained their second victory, substitute Lucas Ocampos making the difference with the only goal against Leverkusen. A draw will be enough to put them through, while they will qualify as group winners with three points should Leverkusen lose.
  • Zenit’s only triumph in France came in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup round of 16 when an Andrey Arshavin goal gave them a 1-0 win at Olympique Marseille. The home leg finished 1-1 with Aleksandr Kerzhakov on target. Their three other visits to France all ended in defeat.
  • Zenit prevailed again against Marseille two seasons later en route to lifting the 2007/08 UEFA Cup. Arshavin scored in a 3-1 away defeat and this proved decisive when Zenit won the return 2-0 to advance on away goals.
  • The Russian side are in their fifth group stage campaign. Last season they finished second in the group with six points – the lowest total for a team progressing in UEFA Champions League history – to qualify for the knockout rounds for only the second time. In the round of 16 they lost 4-2 at home to Borussia Dortmund and 5-4 overall.
  • In this season’s third qualifying round, Zenit beat Limassol 3-0 at home to overturn a 1-0 away defeat. In the play-offs against Standard Liege, they matched that home scoreline to complete a 4-0 aggregate win.
  • The St Petersburg club won 2-0 at Benfica on match day one but stumbled in the two games against Leverkusen, losing away (2-0) and home (2-1).

THE FIXTURES

Group A

Juventus v Atletico Madrid

Olympiakos v Malmo

Group B

Liverpool v FC Basel

Real Madrid v Ludogorets

Group C

Benfica v Bayer Leverkusen

Monaco v Zenit

Group D

Borussia Dortmund v Anderlecht

Galatasaray v Arsenal

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