Reds bow out
By Patrick Goss
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The Reds had been destroyed by the Swiss side's attacking play in the first half and found themselves trailing at the break courtesy of goals from Julio Rossi, Christian Gimenez and Thimthee Atouba.
However, a thrilling second half saw Liverpool throw everything at their opponents and give themselves a glimpse of an unlikely passage when Danny Muphy, Vladimir Smicer and Michael Owen put The Reds level.
However, Christian Gross's side clung on and Liverpool bow out at the first group stage.
Liverpool had looked a class below their opposition in the opening half, with Yakin ripping The Reds apart throughout.
Just 90 seconds had passed when Esposito put Hakan Yakin through and his clever cut back left Rossi unmarked to tap home in front of a gleeful crowd.
Liverpool rarely threatened with Owen alone up front but after Vladimir Smicer had narrowly failed to connect after a good cross and Heskey had seen a sliced cross pushed onto the bar, the English side catastrophically conceded a second.
Yakin had just had a free-kick well saved by Dudek, when he provided a superb first time ball that Argentine Giminez latched onto and slotted home to send the partisan crowd into raptures.
A third soon followed, with Dudek again forced into a diving save from a Yakin free kick, but this time deflecting the ball to lively full back Atuba who slotted home with aplomb.
It could have been worse, a raking Bernd Haas through ball nearly catching Dudek out when it bounced, and requiring an acrobatic tip-over.
The second half was a different story however, with Liverpool finally showing some quality, and getting an early brace back courtesy of Danny Murpy - who latched onto a Vladimir Smicer cut back to slot home.
Smicer then showed admirable tenacity to get a goal for himself, reacting to a Milan Baros flick to slide in and volley home brilliantly.
Late in the game Michael Owen earned a penalty in somewhat strange circumstances, ignoring a shooting opportunity to claim a blatant handball - and winning the decision.
The England man is anything but reliable from the spot but got luck when he got a second opportunity to slot hom after his original effort had been parried.
But it was too little too late, and Gerard Houllier's men will retreat to lick their wounds having been destroyed in the opening 45 minutes of this must-win match.
The other group B match proved to be something of a stroll for Valencia over Spartak Moscow.
The Spanish side have been superb thus far in the Champions League and they easily overcame their Russian opposition by 3-0 despite playing only one of their regular starting XI.
Juan Sanchez grabbed the opening two goals in the game, heading an opener in the first half after good work from Miguel Angulo.
The second half was just seconds old when Sanchez put the result out of doubt.
Mista was the architect and his pull back was finished brilliantly by Sanchez.
Fabio Aurelio then scored the third in the dying minutes to put a gloss on the scoreline and Valencia progress as top of their group.
Click below for match summaries:
Basle 3-3 Liverpool
Valencia 2-0 Spartak Moscow
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