16 Sep 2014

LFC 2-1 Ludogorets: Reds struggle to beat Euro minnows. Result papering over the cracks?

As expected, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has restored Raheem Sterling to the staring line-up for tonight's Champions League clash with Ludogrets, and after the weekend defeat to Aston Villa, a second home defeat in a row is unthinkable...isn't it?

FULL TEAM: Mignolet, Manquillo, Moreno, Lovren, Sakho, Gerrard, Henderson, Coutinho, Sterling, Lallana, Balotelli

SUBS: Jones, Enrique, Toure, Lucas, Suso, Borini, Lambert

So far, Rodgers has ignored Suso for all the league match-day squads, it's good to see the Spaniard back in the squad.

Probable Formation:

------------------ Mignolet

Manquillo --- Lovren -- Sakho --- Moreno

----------------- Gerrard

---------- Hendo -------- Lallana

---------------- Coutinho

---------- Sterling - Balotelli

The diamond will arguably get the best out of the chosen players, but there's always an outside chance that Rodgers will stick with 4231. It didn't work against Villa, but it may be more effective in Europe.

If £20m-rated Coutinho plays at the tip of the diamond, he really needs to put in a good performance. His form is middling at the moment, and Lazar Markovic is waiting in the wings to usurp him.

My prediction: 3-1

Author:



259 comments:

  1. We are going to struggle again if we go with 2 holding midielders. The Southampton and Villa 1st halves were proof of this!!!


    Your lineup is exact to what I posted in the previous article and hopefully it is what we go with.

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  2. i think you are not weird. go go GO LFC!

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  3. My blood is RED :-)

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  4. I think this is the strongest line-up after those injuries.

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  5. Spirit of the Shadows7:12 pm, September 16, 2014

    hope rodgers has binned the 4231

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  6. Spirit of the Shadows7:13 pm, September 16, 2014

    Markovic is suspended isn't he?

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  7. hope mario gets off the mark tonight

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  8. Spirit of the Shadows7:17 pm, September 16, 2014

    Honestly though, That bench looks horrible

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  9. Here is Suso's chance to prove if he is up for it as well as Borini. Pretty sure we will see both a bit later on along with Lambert.

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  10. Spirit of the Shadows7:23 pm, September 16, 2014

    Surely Br will sub off hendo and gerrard , so i guess suso and lucas would come in and yeah maybe lambert for balotelli

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  11. Lucas will only come on if we are dominating.

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  12. Spirit of the Shadows7:26 pm, September 16, 2014

    I hope we dominate them. If anyone gets injured tonight we are in big trouble...

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  13. Happy to see Suso on the bench hopefully if things goes well he'll get some minutes on the pitch.

    Seeing how some player desperately need game time to gel with the team i feel that for us it could be a real bonus to be in europe to challenge for the league.

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  14. Happy to see we are not camping in our half of the pitch or playing with two holding midfielders. Henderson clearly is a waste playing deep!

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  15. Anyone doubting Manquillo? He is a rock.

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  16. Spirit of the Shadows8:12 pm, September 16, 2014

    Moreno isn't too shabby

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  17. 4-3-3 is not working. We are playing well but not causing any problems.

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  18. I was just going to say the same thing. We should stick sterling up front with lallana in behind. ACTUALLY Lallana where a ya lad?

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  19. Balotelli and Sterling upfront with Lallana and Henderson pressing. Rodgers wake the F up.

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  20. Rodgers loves 4-3-3. BUT our wingers couldn't cross a road and are not for all the hype 'Suarez enough' to make the unexpected happen consistently. (although i do like Lallana alot)

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  21. 4-3-3 will work perfectly with Sturridge. He ain't playing. Balotelli looks completely lost on his own. Is Rodgers blind?

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  22. Spirit of the Shadows8:30 pm, September 16, 2014

    What has happened to coutinho?

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  23. agreed. For all his pace his movement is non existent. He doesn't run in behind and doesnt work the channels either. Suarez really was a machine.

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  24. It is Rodgers who is mucking things up. Blind to see that 2 holding midfielders does not fit his style of play and that Balotelli cannot lead the line.


    He needs to go two up front.

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  25. I counted at least 10 times he gave the ball away or lost possession.

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  26. Spirit of the Shadows8:36 pm, September 16, 2014

    he was absolutely horrible

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  27. Coutinho is the best pre-season player in the world BAR NONE. Inter Milan you crafty cats robbed us of 8.5 mill

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  28. Another thing I watched Mario's goals for AC Milan recently. It looked like the bulk of his impressive tally came from penalties and free kicks. He rarely scored from open play.

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  29. Madrid winning 4-1. If we win our 2 games, we could be through. Come on..

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  30. Fact is that we will never see another player like Suarez. The man is a football genius.

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  31. Who are our 2 holding midfielders? Stoping making things up!

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  32. let's win this match first because seeing how poor we are we could loose it...

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  33. I am not referring to this match. Vs Soto and Villa we went with 4-2-3-1 and Balotelli clearly is not going to make it on his own either.

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  34. He may not be match fit, he'll need longer to get up to speed! It just goes to show how big a player Sturridge is!

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  35. Spirit of the Shadows8:48 pm, September 16, 2014

    any formation change?

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  36. I have never seen a player as consistent, enthusiastic, unpredictable, greedy, selfish, generous, skillfull and infectious as Suarez. He played like his life depended on it. An almost perfect blend of mentality, focus and genius

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  37. Every shot from Coutinho is just tame and straight to the keeper. He needs to improve.

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  38. If Coutinho was actually doing his job maybe Balotelli would feel less on his own. The manager can't prevent players giving the ball away you know.

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  39. This ref is a joke.

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  40. yeah but history doesnt suggest he scores many from open play and with Gerrard taking the pens and free kicks. It aint looking good mate

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  41. He scored a fair few from open play for City, it's too soon to judge. My main regret is the Remy issue, to say we missed a trick is an understatement! But Ballo will come good, don't worry :)

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  42. Balotelli has been extremely disappointing. He needs to get stuck in.

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  43. we lack flair even though we have 'flair' players. I'm yet to see a step over, trick, nutmeg...... something different.

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  44. I thought Lallana would offer more?

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  45. Spirit of the Shadows9:02 pm, September 16, 2014

    time for plan B

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  46. Missed the first half but Lallana and Lovren have been the best player on the pitch second half to my eyes. Just goes to show etc.

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  47. I was hoping for an immediate impact too, but he has been injured and is maybe finding his feet and stamping his personality

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  48. machine gun? loool

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  49. For me it's Sterling, he's the only one trying to create something out of nothing!

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  50. Our defence is looking adept but our attack is looking disjointed.

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  51. second match we play poorly and second match lallana play... i think there's a pattern to be find here.

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  52. Borini is coming on then. I think his ingenuity could be the answer if we switch to a diamond

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  53. Well not the only one. I don't like how much of his good work he's doing in harmless areas. Doesn't feel like we've got the team quite set up right, does it? Missing something, Joe Allen probably.

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  54. its also been our second match without sturridge

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  55. If you happen to be an idiot, yes.

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  56. two italians up front then. Thats never happend before

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  57. Hopefully Lucas has found a extra 10 mph.

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  58. The substitutions are about right! Lallana & Coutinho 5/10. What a cross

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  59. Allen who? The guy who does nothing...

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  60. Spirit of the Shadows9:13 pm, September 16, 2014

    manquillo best player on the pitch by a country mile

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  61. Saved by the post,

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  62. Moreno HAS to tuck round there. Ball watching smh..

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  63. To be fair he runs off the ball which creates space for others!

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  64. Would have rather brought on Suso.

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  65. You do not have to convince me.

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  66. Is Gerard Houllier our special guest manager for the evening. I haven't seen such a lackluster showing for years. There were times in the past where games had 0-0 written all over them or perish the thought a sneaky goal from the opposition. Tonight feels the same.

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  67. I agree he's no world beater, trying to be positive!

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  68. you forgot the aston villa game ?

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  69. Not sure what has happened to us destroying teams. We look clueless.

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  70. I stand corrected

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  71. Suarez leaving happened.

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  72. We overlooked Loic Remy's goals in favour of Balotteli's shirt sales

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  73. When there's no movement up front our midfielders have too much time to think. Resulting in either a wayward shot or a hospital pass. Sturridge is a kingpin for us!

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  74. The SAS fear factor is gone, LFC is mortal........add to that Coutinho - poor form plus no one showing much creativity and slow passing...someone score.......

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  75. well done balo ....Gerrard once again non existent

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  76. Spirit of the Shadows9:24 pm, September 16, 2014

    huffed and puffed to that

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  77. Go two upfront Rodgers, what is fooking wrong with you?

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  78. that would be a valid point if borini actually had any ingenuity

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  79. That's a lie. He's worked really hard tonight.

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  80. Spirit of the Shadows9:27 pm, September 16, 2014

    bring in kolo toure

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  81. Balloteli was great tonight but Lallana was TOTAL CRAP

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  82. if strolling around in front of the two cb is working hard i stand corrected

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  83. An exaggeration. Liverpool was there before Saurez & will continue WITHOUT him!

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  84. Kop were so poor tonight

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  85. Spirit of the Shadows9:30 pm, September 16, 2014

    He'll probably get better when he is fitter he didn't have much of a preseason

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  86. gilstrap has it in for Gerrard no matter what where and when. It is no secret.

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  87. your right my nose is nearly touching the wall ...gerrard has been a powerhouse...shooting crossing tackiling pressing intercepting i could swear there are six of him

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  88. Spirit of the Shadows9:31 pm, September 16, 2014

    he was alright , his set-pieces could have been better though

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  89. Spirit of the Shadows9:32 pm, September 16, 2014

    oh no

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  90. liverpool is nothing without suarez...

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  91. WHAT ARE YOU DOING LIVERPOOL!? FOR CHRIST'S SAKE JUST SHUT UP SHOP! SO STUPID!

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  92. well deserved ......like ive said the team is incapable of tracking runners

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  93. once again lovren costing us some points

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  94. Ref was having a laugh! Mignolet what were you thinking!

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  95. It's not Lovren - he was covering for Sakho, who was out of position. The goal came from the left-side of the area,

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  96. lool poor game

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  97. Spirit of the Shadows9:34 pm, September 16, 2014

    madness

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  98. WTF has happened to our pressing and attacking football philosophy?

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  99. are you sure according to logan sako is world class

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  100. Captain fantastic! Penalty king!

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  101. This has been the football equivalent of Mayweather v Maidana. Ill never get this time back.

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  102. Spirit of the Shadows9:36 pm, September 16, 2014

    still that was horrendous did everyone sleep after the first goal?

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  103. Our spineless choker and serial letdown merchants got out of jail tonight.

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  104. Well he commited to a poor takcle that led to a goal, of course in a match the CB pairing will change position i know you din't like sakho but the fact is Lovren is mentally weak and it's costing us.

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  105. ill be honest we don't deserve it ...we won but it doesnt feel like a win.......

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  106. Do you watch the fight? Poor you!

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  107. Spirit of the Shadows9:38 pm, September 16, 2014

    you have to feel for ludogrets, we weren't too good

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  108. No, we were just absolutely dumb.

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  109. Need to see Suso for at least half the next match instead of Coutinho.....just for some variety.....IMHO LFC is thinly spread...not much on bench...

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  110. tucking a dubious penalty a way which we didn't deserve is small consolation

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  111. Mentally weak? What are you on about? Absolute rubbish. It's costing us, sure. What did this figment of your imagination cost us tonight?

    Nothing whatsoever.

    And the goal was just a good goal, not much the defenders could have done about it really. The midfielders were irresponsible.

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  112. I hear you loud & clear. Rubbish is an understatement. Coutinho & Lallana need to step up quickly!

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  113. yeah I watched the "fight".

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  114. We just had to win dramatically in the champions league didn't we?

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  115. all as results like this do is paper over cracks ..we where playing minnows at home but it was hard to tell who the home team was

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  116. not everyone at that stage could have tucked a dubious penalty away though

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  117. We played better and created more chances and fought until the end, of course we deserve it.

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  118. We won though. Good night.

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  119. of coarse i wanted us to win but the manor in which we won has left me disappointed we where awful....sterling was superb and hendo played well and at least balo got off the mark but thats it

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  120. I wish Mayweather would fight Thurman or Andrade. Someone who can test him!

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  121. you keep kidding yourself that we played well

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  122. he's been weak mentally since his time at Lyon.
    you don't know that but there was a time when he was put under pressure because of poor performence and he faked an injury so he didn't have to play anymore...
    Honestly the french media think he's average and are wondering why we bought him, i could find you an article but not sure you speak french

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  123. Before they tied it up, it looked like both teams were exhausted.


    In my opinion, once we scored, we should have taken off Stevie or Raheem and brought on another defender.

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  124. we played well ? see the result we get when we play madrid or even basel away if we play this "well" again.

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  125. goal was not Lovrens fault

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  126. I think now everyone knows that two strikers is a priority, not a choice. Our attack only improved after Borini came on and resulted in the goal. We were lucky but you do not remember how you win the match, just the fact that you won the match and we did that.

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  127. We probably didn't play our best game but we did more than enough to win it. So yes the win is deserved. It's not because the opposition are minnows and they fought well that we somehow are not allowed to beat them.

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  128. I would go so far as to say that Ludogorets created the situation themselves with the sloppy play.


    Couldn't tell how much contact was on Manquillo, but Ludogorets have only themselves to blame for giving away the penalty.


    That being said, we did get lucky that they were so sloppy at the end.

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  129. He'll never fight anyone who can test him. He fights fighters either before or after their peak. Thats why he in his own words "owns boxing"

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  130. he could have done better than a tackle in the air :/
    Honestly i like the guy but he tend to crumble under the pressure

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  131. defense looks as shaky as ever, midfield gets run over as you would expect with gerrard and worst of all the pace and creativity in attack we had last season is just not there at the moment. i pray we bring it back sometime later...

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  132. I think Madrid will be different because it will allow us to play our free flowing game as they are not going to sit back and defend. Basel away is going to be the toughest game.

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  133. do you know the difference between "better than the opposition" and "well" ?

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  134. Play borini until stuzza comes back

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  135. if the French media watched him last season they wouldn't think he's average

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  136. i didn't watch a lot of southampton last season but this season for us he's been exactly that.

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  137. Your expectations of this team are too high, in my opinion.


    We have to worry about simply winning. We can't worry about making it look good.


    If we look good and lose, no one care that we looked good.

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  138. how the heck can you put blame on Sahko watch the video again for goodness sake i know you don't like the man but give him a break

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  139. looking from the other angle it looks as though it was Lovrens fault. The lad made his run from right to left. Sakho was watching the right winger as Moreno ha bombed on

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  140. Spirit of the Shadows9:49 pm, September 16, 2014

    I hope he sticks with the diamond. Please BR teach our defenders some methods to overcome nervous anxiety, every single game their errors lead to goals.

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  141. educate me.. because i remember the opposition creating as many clear cut chances as us, hitting the post once, passing the ball better when they had possession and losing it far fewer times than us. so if there is anything else i missed...

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  142. watch Gerrard for there goal he strolls back and there player has an eon to turn and pass

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  143. An uninspiring win we deserve better come on Liverpool.

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  144. nonsense man .... he was covering his centre back partner and keeper committed suicide.

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  145. Today we got the result barely... I'm try to see the performance. Disappointing!!!

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  146. does anyone else suspect the match was fixed ?


    the penalty is quite suspicious , didn't debrecen match fix againts as well?

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  147. Moreno tend to push really high and is not there to cover his side, i'm not really impressed by him.
    Every time our CB are streched and that leave huge hole in our defense.

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  148. there goals was down to non exisiant midfield protection gerrard is strolling ,there guy picks it up has an eternity to turn and pass its been happening all season

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  149. So because there's a dubious decision the match is fixed? I guess half of football matches around the world are fixed then.

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  150. that show how little he trust lovren.

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  151. they do look nervous. but also henderson, lucas and even coutinho are not top quality. we surely need upgrades on those players in coming years.

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  152. He was covering for Sakho because Sakho was covering for Moreno who got caught up top.


    Ludogorets actually made a nice run.


    But regardless that can't happen.

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  153. hard to trust these small eastern european sides though

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  154. hendo is as good a midfielder as there is in the prem

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  155. Can't disagree with that! He also likes fighters who have to go up in weight. If you get the chance check out Demetrius Andrade, absolute beast!

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  156. i have to admit the midfield is an enigma, time aftertime you see the CB wondering what the hell they must do because there's huge gap between our lines.
    i'm not sure Gerrard will get a new contract :/

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  157. We got caught on the counter. It happens, but you're right we should have done better

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  158. I thought Sterling lost the ball ........

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  159. I'm hating every minute of seeing Sakho in the line up. Where is Skirtel?

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  160. we lost the ball really stupidly too.

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  161. if Moreno leave his side open for Bale we will be in for a tough night.

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  162. is he though.i really admire his work ethic and constant running but he still needs to work on making quick decisions in attack, he can pick out a lovely pass half the time if time permits but in close quarters he often has to lift his head and survey the area before playing a team mate in. he has only done that on a few occasions. maybe its unfair to expect that level of flair from him but he does find himself in good positions and let the moment pass or play a poor pass.

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  163. Not Sakho's fault! Where was Gerrard? What was Mignolet doing?

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  164. There is definitely match fixing in football. Where there is money there is corruption. Whether it was tonight.... we'll know in 5 years or so when the press decide the time is right

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  165. with our midfield i can see them play through unimpeded.

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  166. Their player had so long to pass because we got caught on a counter and 4 guys stood there and complained about a no-foul call. Moreno got caught out of position which dragged Sakho out of position and a player ran right in behind him and past Lovren to bury home the ball.

    Nothing Migs could do there, and Lovren missed the tackle.


    Just a bad play all around, but kudos to Ludogorets for making the play and giving themselves a chance to snatch a point near the end. If they didn't play so sloppily to give away the penalty, they'd be going home a lot happier right now.

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  167. don't forget the guy is their 3rd Keeper so not really a surprise to see him make a stupid decision

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  168. and if i recall ludogorets didn't exactly sit back and defend either. they did get a lot of bodies in the way of blocking shots but it was in no way parking the bus.

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  169. will do. thanks for the tip ;)

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  170. Migs came out when he should have stayed back as well

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  171. I really hope it was not fixed
    this match would ahve been perfect for the criminals
    and maybe they could ahve paid the gk to make sure we lose


    ,but i dont ahve any evidence so i will give it a rest.

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  172. did you just reply to your own post contradicting what was said in your previous post ?

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  173. disqus man, is acting up

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  174. Well it might explain why we were so poor.....

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  175. Do you speak negatively about every single Liverpool player?

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  176. We missed Allen ;-)

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  177. It looked as though we thought we were in for an easy night. As soon as we start games with that mentality its near impossible to eradicate that lackadaisical attitude.

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  178. The truth is the truth

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  179. That was a very silly thing to do. Do you have the source for that please?

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  180. I thought he should of started against Villa and after tonight i just hope he gets the nod for our next game. If he plays and we win then he should keep his place.
    When Allen's fit do you keep him in for his work rate with Henerson or do you go for Lallana and work the over load down the left hand side?

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  181. tonight we were poor because our forwards didnt scare them enough to make them defend deep and grant us full access to the midfield. But who knows :)

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  182. Agree we need two up front but Borini got a clear header and managed to hit the goalie.


    Balotelli wants the ball played at him or just to the side but midfielders keep trying to play balls for him to run on to

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  183. Pepper needs new shorts!

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  184. not like our first keeper who.... oh wait.

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  185. Disgraceful performance. We're a mere shadow of last year. Balotelli and Sakho? Almost was and Never Will Be. Real will tear us a new one with those two fools in the team.

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  186. Another shambolic defensive display to add to the collection.Ludogorets scored, hit the post, should've had a penalty and created other chances.Simon Mignolet almost cost us the win.Lovren missed the tackle but the ball was going away from goal with our defenders converging.He should've stayed on his line.Rushing out gifted them a goal.
    Mignolet also had poor communication when Sakho tried to shield it back to him.It nearly lead to a chance.MS is like a bull who thinks the ball is a red rag.Gerrard doesn't play defensive midfield with intelligence.Dejan Lovren is making mistakes that result in shots on goal.He isn't leading the backline like i thought he would.
    We have two young Spaniards at fullback who are finding their feet.Although you could argue they've been the most consistent players so far defensively.I know it's early days but something needs to change or we'll concede another 50 in the Premier League.
    Lucas should play as a DM or stay on the bench.Why was he played in more advanced role than Steven Gerrard? Our attacking play lacked good creation.The performance was huff and puff.I saw more energy than quality.We got out of jail.

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  187. manchester united getting OUT of the UCL = signing di marina and falcao
    liverpool getting IN UCL = selliing suarez

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  188. Missing Allen and badly missing Sturridge

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  189. Nicolas Chamberlain11:41 pm, September 16, 2014

    The last two games were the two most horrible games we played in 1,5 years. It was one hell of nervous display. There is no intensity in our attack and Coutinho was a complete liability, Lallana should have scored with a direct shot and Lovren is still shaky. Balotelli did good but he needs more back up and another star player, like Sturridge, around him. We need to get our groove back and as soon as possible because we can't afford to lose more points the coming weeks.

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