Football: Rodgers' men only have themselves to blame for exit

Football: Rodgers' men only have themselves to blame for exit
Liverpool fans react during their Champions League Group B soccer match against FC Basel at Anfield in Liverpool, northern England, December 9, 2014.

GROUP B

LIVERPOOL 1 (Steven Gerrard 81)

FC BASEL 1 (Fabian Frei 25)

Liverpool crashed out of the Champions League after a 1-1 draw with Basel yesterday morning (Singapore time). Here are the reasons why they deserve to be eliminated.

NO FIREPOWER

The goals have slowed to a trickle, and that's where Liverpool's main problem lies.

Last season, they fired in 101 goals in 38 league matches. They often started aggressively and, at times, even got the job done within the first 15 minutes of a match. Just ask Arsenal.

This term, they have fired in just 24 goals in 21 Premiership and Champions League matches.

Manager Brendan Rodgers brought in Rickie Lambert and Mario Balotelli to hopefully compensate the loss of prolific forward Luis Suarez.

But Lambert and Balotelli have combined for a paltry total of four goals in all competitions.

The never-ending injuries to striker Daniel Sturridge make things worse.

The strikes from midfield have stopped too.

Of the five goals they scored in six European games, four came against Bulgarian minnows Ludogorets Razgrad.

NO DEFENCE

Liverpool under Rodgers never had a decent backline to begin with.

But, last season, they at least had a superb attack to bail them out of trouble.

The Northern Irishman's attempt to beef up the defence hasn't gone to plan.

Javier Manquillo, Alberto Moreno and, especially Dejan Lovren, are struggling to make an impression.

The team failed to keep a single clean sheet in the Champions League. In all, they conceded nine goals in six games.

Even Ludogorets plundered three goals out of them.

It was embarrassing to see a modest Basel offence tearing the Liverpool defence comprising Glen Johnson, Jose Enrique, Martin Skrtel and Lovren to shreds at Anfield yesterday morning.

The lack of cohesion and organisation at the back was painful for the fans to watch.

NO CREATIVITY

The invention came from everywhere last season.

There were Suarez, Sturridge and Raheem Sterling on top, and Steven Gerrard, Philippe Coutinho and even Jordan Henderson from midfield to count on.

But the creativity has dried up.

The Reds struggled to string together five passes against Basel and, in the first half, could barely take the ball out of their own half.

There didn't seem to be a clear direction or pattern of play. At the first sign of an opponent approaching, the Liverpool players simply passed the ball back until the goalkeeper or a defender hoofed it upfield.

Or, in what has been a common theme this term, they would simply pass it to Sterling, hoping that his individual brilliance can inflict some damage on the opposition. But even the England attacker has looked lost this term.

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