Liverpool became the latest English club to suffer defeat at the hands of FC Basel in Switzerland, falling to a 1-0 defeat at St Jakob’s Park on Wednesday evening.
Brendan Rodgers side conceded the only goal of the game after 52 minutes, when veteran striker Marco Strellar finished from close range.
It was yet another disappointing performance from Liverpool, who have failed to inspire since the 3-0 win over Tottenham on August 31.
Brendan Rodgers went with an attacking line up, opting to play a 4-2-3-1 system, with Philippe Coutinho, Lazar Markovic and Raheem Sterling supporting Mario Balotelli.
But besides an early disallowed goal for and a long range strike straight at the goalkeeper from Sterling, Liverpool managed next to nothing in what was a dull first half.
Simon Mignolet was called into action once with a save with his legs, but all in all the first 45 minutes proved something of a non-event.
The second half started in the same manner, but the deadlock was broken by the home side, as once again Liverpool failed to defend a set piece properly.
Martin Skrtel got himself in a poor position from a Basel corner, and somehow headed backwards towards his own goal.
Mignolet reacted to make the save, but succeeded only in pushing the ball straight to Strellar, who fired into the roof of the net from six yards.
Liverpool pressed for the all important equaliser, but were unable to mount any sort of sustained pressure.
A 35 yard free kick from Balotelli almost caught out Basel goalkeeper Vaclik, who could only parry into the path of Lazar Markovic. The Serb saw his close range follow up shot blocked behind for a corner.
The 20-year-old had another opportunity to level shortly afterwards, firing wide from just inside the box after Jose Enrique found him with a low cross.
Adam Lallana was introduced for the ineffective Philippe Coutinho, and some lovely build up play between himself and Balotelli saw Raheem Sterling played through.
But the youngster took a poor touch when clean through on goal, and the ball bobbled tamely into the grateful arms of Vaclik.
Liverpool’s disappointing evening was summed up when Steven Gerrard – so often the saviour on European nights – saw a 30 yard free kick go straight down the goalkeeper’s throat.
The Liverpool skipper almost set up an equaliser with two almost identical passes, only for the frustrating Balotelli to be flagged offside on both occasions – the second after he has controlled and put the ball in the back of the net.
The final whistle was greeted with huge celebrations from Basel boss Paulo Sousa, who had won against a Brendan Rodgers side for the third time of asking.
The result leaves Liverpool level on points with Basel on three points, but drop down to third in the table on head-to-head.
Brendan Rodgers will be praying his side produce an improved performance level soon, especially with a double header against reigning champions Real Madrid up next.