Liverpool exit Champs League, Juve advance

By Graham Dunbar ,AP

GENEVA — Liverpool’s decline and fall from the European elite was confirmed on Tuesday, as Basel held the hosts to a 1-1 draw at Anfield to reach the last 16 of the Champions League.

The five-time European champion trailed Fabian Frei’s 25th-minute strike, and had substitute Lazar Markovic sent off in the 60th, before captain Steven Gerrard’s 81st-minute free kick sparked a frantic finish.

Liverpool twice failed to beat Basel and was outclassed by Group B winner Real Madrid on returning from a five-year absence in a competition it once dominated, and twice reached the final when its inspirational captain was at his peak.

��You always qualify over the six games and unfortunately we haven’t been good enough,�� Gerrard said.

Madrid completed the only perfect group-stage record of six wins after Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty started a 4-0 rout of Ludogorets Razgrad. It also set a Spanish record of 19 straight wins in all competitions.

��I know I’ve got an extraordinary team, I don’t tire from saying this,�� Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said.

Juventus advanced with typical Italian caution, drawing 0-0 at home to Atletico Madrid which topped Group A. Olympiakos beat Malmo 4-2, and is rewarded for a third-place finish by joining the last 32 of the Europa League.

Monaco beat Zenit St. Petersburg 2-0 to win Group C, rising above Bayer Leverkusen which drew 0-0 at last-place Benfica.

Borussia Dortmund won Group D by drawing 1-1 at home to Anderlecht. Runner-up Arsenal won 4-1 at Galatasaray.

Arsenal is a near-permanent fixture in the last 16 but will once again be unseeded in the draw next Monday where Madrid and Bayern Munich are potential opponents.

Liverpool is heading to the Europa League draw, also Monday, after completing its group program with just a single win �X and that due to a stoppage-time penalty against Ludogorets.

Another stoppage-time winner Tuesday would have sent Anfield into raptures but defender Martin Skrtel, playing as an emergency forward, poked a shot just wide of Basel’s right-hand post.