Rodgers’ case for defence

Basel's Marco Streller, centre, scores the winner
Basel's Marco Streller, centre, scores the winner
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Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers lamented Liverpool’s “poor” defending after the Reds crashed to a 1-0 Champions League defeat against FC Basel.

The Swiss side had beaten Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham in the last four years and added the Merseysiders to their list of scalps as Marco Streller scored the only goal of the game in the 53rd minute.

Rodgers felt his side played well enough to get something from the game but let themselves down by failing to deal with Basle’s set pieces.

“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,” he said.

“I think it (set-piece defending) is something we continue to talk about and look at and analyse but you have to do it on the field and the key to defending is your first contact with the ball and we continually don’t do that enough.”

Mario Balotelli often cut an isolated figure up front in the sole striker role but despite failing to find the net for the fourth game running, Rodgers thought the £16million summer signing played well.

“He worked hard, (but) needs to do more,” Rodgers said of the Italy striker. “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.”

Meanwhile Danny Welbeck was delighted to help Arsene Wenger celebrate 18 years at Arsenal with a hat-trick in a 4-1 win over Galatasaray in the Champions League.

The Frenchman was celebrating his anniversary at the Emirates and Welbeck’s treble alongside a strike from Alexis Sanchez sealed a comfortable win with Burak Yilmaz responding from the penalty spot as Wojciech Szczesny was sent off.

“He’s shown a lot of faith in me and I’m delighted to pay him back tonight,” he said.