Balotelli remains a doubt for crunch Basel showdown

Brendan Rodgers has revealed that the Italy international is struggling to shake off a groin injury for the crucial Champions League clash while Daniel Sturridge is also still out

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has revealed that Mario Balotelli is likely to miss his side’s crucial Champions League clash with Basel on Tuesday due to injury.

The Reds, who have just four points from five games, host the Swiss side on Tuesday in their final Group B fixture, needing to take all three points if they are to progress with leaders Real Madrid into the next round.

Balotelli has not featured since the 2-1 home loss to Chelsea in November after picking up a groin injury while on international duty and Rodgers has conceded that the striker is set to miss out once again.

He told reporters: “I very much doubt Balotelli is fit to play. We have goals in the squad. I believe we have enough talent in the group to get the goals we need to win.

“We would have taken this scenario when the draw was made. We knew the last two games would be key and that is the case. It’s going to be a great night and it’s up to us do what we need to do.”

Rickie Lambert remains the club’s most senior striker ahead of the clash but, with just two goals in 17 appearances, Rodgers admits he has considered playing academy graduates.

He continued: “It’s something we’ve looked at. I very much doubt any of the players that weren’t available at the weekend will be ready. 

“I feel we have goals in the squad but it’s certainly something I’ve thought about in the last couple of days. Some of our young players have been doing very well. 

“We’ll take the time to assess that. I believe we have enough talent within the group to get the win.”

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