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  Wednesday, 13 November, 2002, 07:04 GMT
Houllier blames Anfield slip-up
Gerard Houllier (left) suffers with his team
The Liverpool bench endured a torrid night
Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier blamed his side's Anfield draw with Basle for their Champions League exit, and not the 3-3 draw in Switzerland.

The Premiership side fell three goals behind inside half an hour on Tuesday and looked to be heading for an embarrassing defeat.

But they fought back through goals from Danny Murphy, Vladimir Smicer and Michael Owen.

A draw was not enough, however, and Liverpool will have to make do with a place in the Uefa Cup as Basle progress to the last 16.

And Houllier insists it was the 1-1 draw at Anfield that cost his side dear.


I have never experienced a first half like that when we were outstanding
Christian Gross,
Basle boss

"I believe we are out of Europe because of what happened in the first game with Basle at Anfield," said Houllier.

"They got a draw and were very lucky not to have lost because we had so many chances.

"But they have finished above us in the group, so they deserve to go through to the next round. I congratulate them."

Houllier did admit that Liverpool had handed Basle the initiative in the opening half hour on Tuesday.

"We could and should have stopped those first half goals, certainly the first two.

Basle's Mario Cantaluppi (l) celebrates with goalkeeper Pascal Zueberbuhler and Sebastien Barberis
Basle are the first Swiss team to make the last 16
"But when I got to them at half-time I told them to go out and show their pride, score one and then see what happens.

"We did superbly well to hit back with three goals after that first half, but we knew we couldn't let in three goals like that in the first period.

"We just didn't compete enough in that period, but I told the team never to give in, just keep believing that you can do it. "

Basle boss Christian Gross said: "I know we were lucky at Anfield, but we showed such quality in this game.

"I have never experienced a first half like that when we were outstanding.

"I am very happy for my players - it was tense, yes, at the end, but we had played so well beforehand we deserved it."


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12 Nov 02 | England
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