Liverpool’s season took another turn for the worst on Wednesday, as the struggling Premier League outfit drew with Bulgarian minnows Ludogorets 2-2 in Group B after giving up a late equalizer. The Reds have now gone five games without a win in all competitions.
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After falling behind early on to Dani Abalo’s strike, Liverpool fought back valiantly as goals from Rickie Lambert and Jordan Henderson out them ahead. However Brendan Rodgers’ side couldn’t hold on to their advantage late on as Georgi Terziev headed home from a set piece after slack marking from the Reds.
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With their point and Basel’s defeat to Real Madrid, Liverpool must now beat Basel at home in their final UCL group game on Dec. 9 to seal their spot in the last 16. Despite their valiant effort, Ludogorets crashed out of the Champions League but can hold their head high after their first-ever campaign among Europe’s elite.
Liverpool went 1-0 down after just three minutes as Abalo pounced on Simon Mignolet’s spilled shot after a long-range effort from Marelinho skipped up off the surface. In truth Mignolet should have done better and the Reds got off to the worst possible start in Sofia.
However the Reds were level just six minutes as Lambert headed home following some hesitant defending from the home side for his second goal in as many games. With less than 10 minutes gone it was 1-1, as Liverpool were handed a lifeline.
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After that frantic start the game settled down a little and Liverpool possessed the ball well but looked vulnerable to Ludogorets’ pace on the counter attack and Kolo Toure almost put into his own net as the Bulgarians pushed to go back in front. Liverpool went ahead before half time as Lambert played in Raheem Sterling and the speedy winger raced clear down the left and found Henderson at the back post who tucked the ball home. 2-1 to the Reds at half time.
In the second half Liverpool were unlucky to not go 3-1 up as Lambert saw his header brilliantly blocked and then Henderson somehow smashed the rebound over from six-yards out.
That missed came back to bite them after sustained pressure from the hosts who knew anything but a win would see them exit the Champions League. Late in the game Ludogorets threw the kitchen sink at Liverpool and the Reds’ defense couldn’t hold on to secure what would have been a crucial win as Terziev’s header sealed a point for the hosts in Sofia.
Ludogorets: Stoyanov, Minev, Moti, Terziev, Caicara, Alexandrov (Wanderson, 72′), Espinho (Younes, 81′), Abalo (Azevedo Junior, 69′), Dyakov, Marcelinho, Misidjan
Goals: Abalo (3′), Terziev (88′)
Liverpool: Mignolet, Manquillo, Skrtel, Toure, Johnson, Lucas, Allen, Henderson, Gerrard, Sterling (Moreno, 82′), Lambert
Goals: Lambert (8′), Henderson (37′)