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Dublin: 8 °C Saturday 4 April, 2020


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COMING OFF THE back of four straight defeats, the most recent being a 3-1 loss to Crystal Palace in the league on Sunday, Liverpool go into their trip to Bulgaria needing nothing a result.

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Good evening! This is it, a vital Champions League night for Liverpool in Bulgaria. A loss or a draw this evening could see Liverpool out of the competition if Basel get a result against Real Madrid. The Swiss side currently sit three points ahead of Liverpool and they welcome Real Madrid this evening.

The Liverpool team is in and this is how they will line up:

Mignolet, Manquillo, Škrtel, Touré, Johnson, Lucas, Allen, Henderson, Gerrard, Sterling, Lambert.

Mario Balotelli’s failed fitness test on a groin strain means he misses out again so Rickie Lambert starts his second consecutive game up front.

So Kolo Toure, Lucas and Jordan Henderson come into the team in place of Dejan Lovren, Phillipe Coutinho and Adam Lallana, who started on Sunday at Selhurst Park.

The Liverpool bench this evening is: Jones, Lovren, Coutinho, Moreno, Lallana, Borini, Can.

The eagerly awaited Ludogorets team will be in soon, don’t worry.

In other news Danny has just put Zenit St Petersburg 1-0 up at home to Benfica, meaning that the Portuguese team are on the way out of the competition as things stand.

STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING! We have Ludogorets team news. And it’s as follows:

Stoyanov, Minev, Moti, Terziev, Caicara, Alexandrov, Espinho, Abalo, Dyakov, Marcelinho, Misidjan.

So there you are.

Gary Neville has said in the Sky Sports studio that he believes Liverpool are still suffering from a massive lack of confidence after what happened at the end of last season. Liverpool fans, do you agree with him or not?

And, despite many calls for it after Sunday’s result, Steven Gerrard has maintained a starting berth. That’s sure to be another talking point this evening.

This certainly won’t be an easy game for Liverpool with Ludogorets also still in with a chance of qualifying. They beat Basel 1-0 in their last home game — interestingly they play their home games 400 miles from their home city of Razgrad, at the Natsionalen Stadion Vasil Levski in Sofia.

The RTÉ graphic has Joe Allen lining up in the hole behind Rickie Lambert with Steven Gerrard as the holding midfielder. On the other hand Sky have Joe Allen out left, Lucas in the holding role and Gerrard behind the striker.

Neither seem exactly textbook but it’s hard to see Allen playing in that number 10 role.


It’s kicked off in Sofia, Liverpool in red taking on the green of Ludogorets.


GOAL! Ludogorets 1-0 Liverpool (Abalo, 3′)


A long range shot from Marcelinho was dealt with poorly by Mignolet as he failed to hold onto it allowing Abalo to nip in and tuck it away.


GOAL! Ludogorets 1-1 Liverpool (Lambert, 8′)


Dreadful defending from Ludogorets centre back Moti as he allowed the ball to bounce in the six yard box. Lambert muscled by him and nodded it over Stoyanov into the bottom corner.


And, by the magic of the internet, here’s that goal for you just three minutes after it was scored.


A nice move from Ludogorets sees them slip it through the Liverpool defence. Minev picked the ball up just inside the box on the left but his attempted curler into the far corner was high and wide.


Misidjan cuts into the box from the left and attempts to feed it into the six yard area but Toure stretches out a long leg and blocks.


Close! Aleksandrov goes down the right and fires in a low cross. Toure reached it at the near post but could only turn it towards his own goal and the ball trickled just wide of the post for a corner that led to another corner which has now led to yet another corner.


Henderson concedes a free-kick on the right wing but a dreadful effort at a cross from Dyakov fails to beat the one man wall.


Chance for Ludogorets! A cross into the six yard box almost found the head of Abalo but Mignolet just did enough to palm it away.


Since Liverpool’s equaliser they’ve barely been able to hold the ball and it’s been all Ludogorets. The Bulgarians haven’t had any clear-cut chances but they look a lot more likely to score the next goal than Liverpool do.


Sterling nips in and dispossesses Espinho 40 yards from goal. The winger advances with the ball and tries a shot from 20 yards but it’s a truly dreadful effort and flies way over the bar.


Lucas pulls down Dyakov 30 yards from goal, conceding a free-kick to the home side. Espinho stepped up fancying his luck and hit a dipping shot over the wall that bounced awkwardly in front of Mignolet but the keeper managed to hold onto it this time.


GOAL! Ludogorets 1-2 Liverpool (Henderson, 38′)


A first Champions League goal for Jordan Henderson sees Liverpool into the lead against the run of play. The plaudits should go to Sterling though. Intercepting down the left wing he scampered towards the box and delivered a sumptuous ball across the face of goal between the defenders and the goalkeeper, right onto the foot of Henderson at the back post, leaving the midfielder with an easy tap in.


If Liverpool can get to half time still 2-1 up it will be a huge bonus. Ludogorets have controlled the ball better but failed to create anything clear-cut.


Aleksandrov creates a bit of space on the left wing and plays Marcelinho in behind the Liverpool defence. The pass is slightly overhit however meaning the winger was stretching to get to it and couldn’t deliver a decent cross.


And that’s half time - A decent first half performance from Liverpool considering they’re away from home. They’ve looked vulnerable at the back at times but they’ve taken the chances that have come to them and find themselves 2-1 up at the break.

The teams are back on the pitch and we’re just ready to go again. Temperatures are below zero and the substitutes are wrapped up under a big warm blanket.


We’re back underway. The pitch is beginning to freeze apparently.


Not much going on in the second half so far. A similar pattern to the first half with Ludogorets enjoying a lot of the ball but not doing much with it. Liverpool are biding their time, it’s Ludogorets who need to take the game to them after all.


We’ve nicely summarised all three of the game’s goals so far here, in Vine format.


Half a chance for Ludogorets. The ball dropped kindly for Aleksandrov on the edge if the box but his volley was poorly executed and it bobbled wide.


Sterling has gone down and looks in a bit of trouble. He was caught with a heavy, but fair, challenge a few minutes ago and has been hobbling since. He’s down receiving treatment at the moment.


Sterling has re-entered the fray and looks to be relatively okay. Espinho is lining up a free-kick on the left wing for Ludogorets.


And it comes to nothing. Espinho attempted a shot from an area closer to the sideline than the box. Ridiculous carry on and it flies way over the bar.


Chance for Liverpool! Great trickery down the left wing from Sterling gives him half a yard of space to chip to the back post. The ball lands on Rickie Lambert’s head but his effort is blocked on the line. It rebounds to Jordan Henderson who, from four yards with an open goal, blazes way over the bar. His blushes were spared somewhat however as the referee blew the whistle for a foul by Henderson on the goalkeeper as the cross was coming in. That would have been miss of the century.


Liverpool are looking a lot more in control now. They’re knocking the ball around nicely, keeping it from Ludogorets who look to be getting a bit panicky as they really need a goal soon.


Azevedo has replaced the goalscorer Dani Abalo for Ludogorets.


After Ludogorets made a complete mess of a good opportunity thanks to a very poor pull back from Marcelinho Liverpool broke with Sterling. His pass out left to Gerrard was a slight bit behind the captain meaning all he could do was lay it back to Henderson whose shot whistled wide. The ball was lumped forward to Marcelinho again and his shot was touched wide by Mignolet for a corner that came to nothing.

A flurry of activity, you might say!


In the middle of that flurry Wanderson replaced Aleksandrov for the home side.


A corner for Liverpool from the left is fired at the near post. Gerrard comes to meet it but can only flick on. There’s a shout for handball but the referee ignores is having none of it.


Firstly, Younes has replaced Espinho. But a chance for Liverpool! Gerrard threads one through for Sterling, who is just about onside. He really should score as he’s one-on-one but Stoyanov stands tall and saves. It was Sterling’s last action as he’s just been replaced by Alberto Moreno.


Ludogorets are still showing signs of an equaliser. Hamza Younes speeds down the left wing and tries to cross but Toure blocks it at source. He’s done that a few times tonight.


This game isn’t over yet. Ludogorets are still creating chances. They have a corner here…


…and it is absolutely, categorically horrendous. Not only did it not beat the first man but it arrived to the first man no higher than shin height.


GOAL! Ludogorets 2-2 Liverpool (Terziev, 88′)


A corner from the right was fairly sub-standard again but Hamza Younes made the most of it by attacking the front post and flicking it on. The ball floated over the Liverpool defence and found the unmarked Terziev at the back post.


We’ll have three minutes additional time here. Ludogorets have to score to remain in the competition. As Basel are losing to Real Madrid a draw will leave Liverpool in the same position as they were before the game.


Another chance for Ludogorets! Hamza Younes flew down the right wing and crossed to the near post but it was scrambled away.


Full time - So that’s it, Liverpool go a fifth game without a win. On the night they were probably the better team with Sterling especially impressive. Without a doubt it was a better performance and Gerrard looked better than he did on Sunday. Ludogorets never gave up though and they deserved their late reward.

It all comes down to the last game against Basel in Anfield now. Anything less than a win and Liverpool will be out of the competition.

And with that I will bid you good night. It’s sure to be a huge night in Anfield in two weeks. Stay tuned to for reaction from all of tonight’s games.