Monday, 1 December 2014

Defensive Lapse Denies Reds Victory

After suffering a trio of defeats so far in the Champions League, Liverpool travelled to face Ludogorets knowing a fourth loss would damaged their hopes of advancing and potentially lead to a complete exit from European competition this season.

Their hopes suffered an early blow when a long range shot from Marcelinho saw Simon Migonlet parry horrendously into the path of Dani Abalo who fired past the Belgian to give the home side a lead inside two minutes.

Liverpool responded well and hit the back of the net themselves in the eight minute when a clever cross from Jordan Henderson caused chaos in the Ludogorets defence which allowed Rickie Lambert to take advantage and nod home past Stoyanov for his first European goal and second for the Reds in the space of four days.

Raheem Sterling looked to put his side ahead in the 29th minute but could only send an effort over the bar but he redeemed himself with style in the 37th minute as he teased a superb ball across goal which connected with the run of Jordan Henderson who swept the ball high into the net past Stoyanov to give Liverpool a 2-1 lead.

Both sides threatened with set-pieces before the hour with Steven Gerrard sweeping in a free-kick which drew a comfortable save from Stoyanov before Espinho sent his free-kick over the Liverpool crossbar.

Buoyed by his early goal, Rickie Lambert looked for a second as he arrowed a header towards goal which was blocked and fell to Jordan Henderson who fired over from close range but was relieved to be flagged offside after a superb chance to extend the lead went awry.

The England midfielder was involved again in the 71st minute when the duo of Raheem Sterling and Steven Gerrard found the former who forced a diving stop from Stoyanov who was called into action again just four minutes later to deny Raheem Sterling after a pacy run from the young winger.

Into the final minutes, Ludogorets began to pile on the pressure on the Liverpool defence and to the detriment of the travelling Kopites, it paid off in the 88th minute when Terziev found himself completely unmarked from a corner before heading past Simon Mignolet to secure a 2-2 draw and keep both sides in the hunt to qualify for the next round.