Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has challenged his troops to prove to the world that they belong with Europe’s best sides when they face Basel at Anfield tonight.
The Reds returned to the Champions League last season by finishing second in the Premier League, but the addition of more fixtures to their schedule has wrought havoc with their form.
That, combined with the exit of Luis Suarez and Rodgers’ failure to replace him, means that the Anfield club could depart from the competition after only the group stages.
They have not won since the opening match against Ludogorets, when Steven Gerrard scored a last minute penalty to give them the win.
Their tie against Basel is now incredibly important, but to their benefit, their Champions League fate remains in their own hands.
Should Liverpool manage a win in the game, the Reds will qualify for the knockout stages alongside the dominant Real Madrid, who top the group after winning the competition last season.
“We worked so hard to be here as players and as a coach,” Rodgers said.
“We deservedly qualified for this great competition because of our performances. Now we are in it we want to do well.
“When the draw was made we saw ourselves as a team that could come out of the group and nothing has changed. We have won one game and disappointed in some of the others but the bottom line is it’s about this game.
“I think the players have shown they’ve got the qualities for this level even though it’s a new experience for a lot of them.
“They will learn from it and hopefully as the competition goes on they will show that.
“Everyone has seen Real Madrid – probably the best team in the world – go clear in the group. For us it’s about trying to ensure we qualify too.
“The beauty is without being fantastic this season we still have a chance. We’ve done enough to put ourselves in this position and we have certainly got the ability to get the win.
“The confidence has maybe been affected with all the changes and injuries but we have still got talent and a great collective spirit. We hope that combination takes us through.”