Paulo Sousa wants to pile pressure on Liverpool

Basel manager Paulo Sousa believes Liverpool may crack under pressure if his side make a fast start in their decisive Champions League showdown on Tuesday.

Paulo Sousa wants to pile pressure on Liverpool

London: Basel manager Paulo Sousa believes Liverpool may crack under pressure if his side make a fast start in their decisive Champions League showdown on Tuesday.

Sousa`s team travel to Anfield with a two-point lead over Liverpool in the race to make the last 16 of Europe`s elite club competition.

A draw will be enough to send the Swiss outfit through at the expense of their more illustrious opponents.

After a disappointing season to date, Liverpool are desperate to qualify from Group B to get their campaign back on track, but their confidence remains fragile on the evidence of Saturday`s lacklustre goalless draw at home to Sunderland.

Former Juventus midfielder Sousa, who managed Swansea City prior to present Liverpool handler Brendan Rodgers taking over at the helm, has no intention of playing for a draw because he is confident the Reds aren`t mentally strong enough to respond if they struggle early on.

"We want to put them under pressure because in the last game (their 1-0 win in Switzerland) we were controlling possession and created good opportunities," the 44-year-old Sousa said on Monday.

"That is something we want to have tomorrow. Lots of personality, ambition, intensity in our game with and without the ball, and create difficulties which will allow us to have opportunities to score in the game.

"We will put them more under pressure and hopefully we can have another magical night where the performance will be outstanding and the result of the game will be in our favour.

"I am always looking for a win. In my leadership and feedback to the players it is always about playing to win."

There has been much debate in recent weeks about the ability of Liverpool`s 34-year-old captain Steven Gerrard to dictate matches in the twilight of his career.

But former Reds defender Philipp Degen, now in the Basel squad, is sure Gerrard can still cut it at the highest level.

"He was - is - for me THE Liverpool player, boss both on and off the pitch and a great personality at this club," Degen said.

"When I was here he was the man I went to when I had questions.

"It is always special to play here and it is a Champions League night where it is a matter of all or nothing.

"It is special thing when they sing `You`ll Never Walk Alone` so there is motivation for us here tomorrow to make sure we go through to the last 16." 

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