Fabian Frei’s 25th minute strike cranked up the heat on Brendan Rodgers’ pressure cooker as Liverpool’s flash in the pan Champions League campaign finished with a fizzle.
Frei fired in from the edge of the box after a neat one-two with Luca Zuffi to knock out the five time champions at the group stage despite Steven Gerrard’s equaliser.
Gerrard, hero of that night against Olympiakos on this day 10 years ago, dragged Liverpool level with a trademark free-kick eight minutes before the end to ensure a tense finish.
Rodgers’ reds were repugnant up until their goal though and their performance left a sour taste in the mouth in front of an expectant Anfield crowd that produced a fiery atmosphere pre match on an ice cold Tuesday night.
Substitute Lazar Markovic boiled over just after the hour, sent off for flailing an arm into the face of Behrang Safari who went down like he had been shot like a poacher after minimal, if any, contact but the malice from Markovic was clear to see and the Serbian was shown his marching orders.
Martin Skrtel of all people fashioned an uncharacteristic effort from distance that narrowly swerved past the woodwork shortly after Taulant Xhaka shot wide at the other end.
The Liverbirds did produce a late flurry that left all those watching with their hearts in their mouths but ultimately came up short.
Gerrard and Jordan Henderson forced fine saves in the final five from the Basel keeper but finished third and go into the Europa League.
LIVERPOOL’S Champions League life hangs in the balance going into their final group game against Swiss champions FC Basel at Anfield tonight.
The Reds have only amassed four points from a possible 15 in their five games and only victory will be enough to see them move into the knockout stages.
Basel have been somewhat of a nemesis to English clubs in this competition in the past however, beating Chelsea home and away in the 2012/13 season as well as eliminating Manchester United the previous year with a 2-1 win at their home of St.Jakob-Park.
Bulgarian outfit Ludogorets are the only opposition Liverpool have picked up points against in Europe so far, winning 2-1 in the red side Merseyside and drawing 2-2 in Razgrad.
They have not been much better domestically either and are currently languishing in ninth, six points off the coveted place in the top four spot that enables them to qualify for next season’s competition.
Liverpool last won the Champions League in 2005 but required a two-goal winning margin against Olympiakos on this day 10 years ago to progress from the group and secure the 3-1 win.
The feat was achieved thanks to a dramatic rasping strike in the dying seconds from Steven Gerrard and Brendan Rodgers will be hoping the spirit of that night will still resonate with his out-of-form club captain.
Gerrard was only used as a late substitute on Saturday despite scoring against Leicester the previous Tuesday as Liverpool limped to a lifeless 0-0 draw at home to Sunderland.