Houllier: I thought we'd win it
LFC Official Website
Gerard Houllier reflected on
Liverpool's amazing Champions League exit and admitted: "When Michael
scored I thought we'd win the game."
The Reds drew 3-3 on the night but go out of the tournament having picked
up just eight points from their six group games. Valencia and Basel
qualify from Group B for the second stage.
Houllier was disappointed with his side's first half display - during
which they went three goals down - but he was more than satisfied with
their response after the break.
Houllier said: "I'm pleased with the effort and heart we showed in the
second half. The players gave a great response and that pleases me. It
will stand us in good stead for the future and don't forget this team is
still very young.
"I thought we were unfortunate to be three down at the break. It was a
harsh scoreline because they only had three chances and scored three
goals. Their third goal could have been avoided and I think our focus went
a bit after we let a goal in so early.
"When Michael scored I thought there was only going to be one winner. It's
a shame because this could have been a great night for us."
Liverpool fall just short
BBC Sport Online
Liverpool were knocked out of the
Champions League by Swiss side Basle despite a brave second half
The Reds found themselves 3-0 down within 30 minutes and despite battling
back for a draw, must now settle for a Uefa Cup spot.
Hakan Yakin was Liverpool's chief tormentor as he had a hand in all
Basle's three goals, which came from Julio Hernan Rossi, Christian Giminez
and Timothee Atouba.
Danny Murphy started a Liverpool resurgence and Vladimir Smicer scored a
second before Michael Owen dramatically levelled matters from the spot
after 83 minutes.
But Liverpool could not stop their exit coming on manager Gerard
Houllier's four year anniversary in sole charge of the Anfield club.
Liverpool got off to the worst possible start when Antonio Esposito's
through ball opened up the their defence and Hakan Yakin crossed for Rossi
to slot in from six yards.
The visitors tried to respond and Smicer's outstretched leg could not
quite reach Emile Heskey's low right-wing cross after eight minutes.
Two minutes later, Heskey's shot almost caught out home keeper Pascal
Zuberbuehler, who was expecting a cross but managed to palm the ball away
off his crossbar.
Basle continued to be the more inventive and incisive team in the first
half even though they knew a draw would put them through.
Hakan Yakin was the orchestrater for his side and, after seeing Liverpool
keeper Dudek palm a 25-yard free-kick around the post, he set up Basle's
He chipped a ball into the path of Argentine striker Giminez, who shot
past the on-rushing Dudek.
Hakan Yakin's 25-yard free-kick was then saved by Dudek but the ball fell
into the path of Atouba and he slotted in.
Owen shot over early in the second half before Murphy gave Liverpool a
glimmer of hope when he shot in from the edge of the Basle area.
Milan Baros had replaced Heskey in attack and his touch into the visitors
box saw Smicer score with a shot to increase the nerves of the home team.
Dudek kept Liverpool in the game with two key saves before Murat Yakin's
handball gave Liverpool a penalty.
Owen scored at the second attempt and Liverpool exerted plenty of pressure
for the winner which proved elusive.