Thursday 2 October 2014 10:24, UK
Furious Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard accused his side of being "soft all over the pitch" during their lacklustre 1-0 Champions League defeat at FC Basel.
Marco Streller pounced to fire the only goal of a disappointing Group B encounter in the 52nd minute after the visitors failed to deal with a home corner, and Gerrard admitted Liverpool's fallibility against set-pieces needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.
The former England skipper was angered by Liverpool's lack of fight throughout a disappointing Group B encounter, and he pulled no punches in his assessment of their performance.
"I think we created a good few openings where you would expect us to go and score but we didn't deserve anything out of this game," he told Sky Sports after Liverpool's first defeat to Swiss opposition in 10 matches.
"I thought we were too soft all over the pitch. I thought they wanted it more, which is very disappointing.
"Conceding again from a set-piece isn't good enough, so we need to get it right. You're not going to win a football match if you keep conceding from set-pieces.
"I thought we were second-best at times tonight. I think they are an okay team, but I wouldn't say we were blown off the park or that they were fantastic. We made it easy for them and we wanted something out of this game - at least a draw.
"We came for the win, I expected us to win, so it was very disappointing. We will discuss it, we will analyse it like we always do.
"There were signs against Everton that we were coming back closer to where we wanted to be.
"We were aggressive with and without the ball against Everton but we went back to where we have been for most of the season tonight, which is not good enough."
Conceding goals from set-pieces has been Liverpool’s undoing this season, and manager Brendan Rodgers vowed to work hard to address the problem.
“We didn’t start great and I don’t think we were very good technically tonight, certainly for the first 25 minutes,” Rodgers told Sky Sports.
“Once we started to combine and pass the ball we created some very good openings. I think we had enough chances to at least get something from the game.
"But we defended very, very poorly on the corner and it's not the first time so it's very, very disappointing we couldn't get something from the game and the game was decided by a poor defensive corner.
"I think it (set-piece defending) is something we continue to talk about and look at and analyse but you have to deal with it on the field and the key to defending is your first contact with the ball and we continually don't do that enough.
"Basel have a great record against English teams but tonight was a good opportunity to get at least a point out of the game."
Mario Balotelli struggled to break the shackles of the home defence and often cut an isolated figure up front in the sole striker role as he failed to score for the fourth straight game.
But Rodgers defended the Italian’s work-rate, adding: "He worked hard, (but) needs to do more. He will be judged on what he creates and what he scores and he didn't score.
"The boy is trying, he is working hard."