Rallying his team before their crunch tie against Ludogorets, Brendan Rodgers has asked his players to show more aggression and to defend better as Liverpool look to qualify for the Round of 16 in the Champions League. Sitting on the 3rd spot, behind Real Madrid and FC Basel, Liverpool’s hopeful return to the Champions League could be cut short if they do not win their game against Ludogorets.
Having gone 5 fixtures without a win, Brendan Rodgers will be looking to make sure Liverpool bounce back in order to avoid further criticism. Liverpool will need to win both their remaining games in order to ensure that they do not crash out of the Champions League in the group stages.
Speaking before the game, the Liverpool manager believes that his players need to be more aggressive in order to get results.
“We need to be more tenacious, more aggressive and have a greater capacity to defend better as a team.”
“When there are moments to defend, you have to defend better – and that’s something that we’ll look to do.”
Having lost 3 of their 4 Champions League encounters, things are not looking good for Brendan Rodgers who has come under fire after losing unceremoniously to Crystal Palace. Former defender Jamie Carragher tore into the Liverpool side, criticizing his former club for getting bullied out on the pitch.
“They are getting bullied out of games. Last year when they came here [to Selhurst Park] we said they were mentally and physically weak. Same again – nothing’s changed”
“You look at the time and there are no men in the team. Sometimes you’ve got to grind results out.”
“There’s no leadership on the pitch. Liverpool aren’t getting beat by quality – they’re getting bullied.”
Meanwhile Liverpool will be without the services of Mario Balotelli who is likely to miss the game as he has been unable to shake off his groin injury. It was the Italian who managed to score against Ludogorets at Anfield earlier this season and following a dry patch in front of the goal, the striker will rue the missed chance to face them again. With Sturridge still out with injury, Liverpool will miss the presence of an influential striker in the starting eleven. However Brendan Rodgers will take consolation with the return of Henderson who is likely to feature for Liverpool in the Champions League encounter.