LIVERPOOL 2-1 LUDOGORETS
LIVERPOOL ARE BACK IN EUROPE WITH A BANG – VICTORY, at Anfield.
The anticipation for this game was almost too much. I got very nervous about our first Champions League game in about 5 years, especially after only losing a few days ago to Aston Villa – could we be unlucky enough to lose two games in a row? Would we go on a “losing streak” or would we bouncing back and prove that we are still LIVERPOOL – THE 5 TIMES EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS?
Mario Balotelli got to start this game and was not substituted by the manager at any point, like Brendon Rodgers had chosen to do in the Aston Villa game. With Sturridge out, he seems to be the strongest striker we have right now and he certainly proved himself worthy of his place in the side by scoring, making himself a HERO right in front of the reds fans. Liverpool has nothing but love for you now, Mario! You keep on scoring in front of our fans and soon you’ll earn the title “Kop Legend”.
The game was full of tension and the first half (although it was dominated by Liverpool), ended 0-0. We had plenty of chances but we didn’t manage to take advantage of them and it would be late into the second half before the first goal came. Over eighty minutes went by before Alberto Moreno crossed a ball into Mario Balotelli who shrugged off a defender inside the box, turned and shot and accurately put the ball past the goalkeeper into the right corner of the net, making it 1-0 for Liverpool in the 82nd minute.
The Reds fans probably thought that this game was going to end in a 1-0 win, but only 9 minutes later Ludogorets would equalize as Simon Mignolet made a costly mistake of coming off his line, providing an open goal for Abalo Paulos to put the ball into. It was suddenly 1-1 in the 91st minute and the Bulgarians seemed to have done enough to perhaps get themselves a point against Liverpool.
LIVERPOOL DID NOT PANIC… LIVERPOOL DID NOT LOWER THEIR HEADS IN SHAME AND ACCEPT DEFEAT… We walked on, with hope in our hearts. We played our hearts out until the final whistle would blow. In the 93rd minute, Javier Manquillo made a run into their penalty area, was fouled as he was foolishly brought down by the opposing keeper Milan Borjan, because of which the referee awarded a penalty to Liverpool. Steven Gerrard would bravely step up and despite the pressure on him, our Captain Fantastic calmly put the ball into the net in front of the Kop and ultimately, saved Liverpool from the potential draw with the Bulgarians. Liverpool won 2-1 and all three points of our first Champions League game in 5 years was ours.
In a post match interview, Steven Gerrard would say “We were OKAY, but not better than okay”… he was of the view that we can improve on our performance and do better in Europe as we progress in the tournament. Basically, we have much more to see and I think we will enjoy the Champions League as we get better and better with each game. Brendan Rodgers would praise Balotelli and say “We’ve been telling him to GET IN THE BOX… he spends a lot of time outside the penalty area and often tries long range shots but we’ve been encouraging him to use his pace and power inside the penalty area”. Well, considering that Mario’s goal came from around the penalty spot area, I’d say his training has paid off.
It feels good to be back in the Champions League once more and showing the rest of Europe that WE ARE LIVERPOOL. We’ve won it 5 TIMES and we want to make it 6!
Liverpool’s next game will be on Saturday, against West Ham. Let’s go hammer those Hammers! You’ll Never Walk Alone, reds!
[written by] Stuart Drewery.
I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so i was born into being a red.
I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (about 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s.
I’m a die hard Liverpool fan (only supported ONE club in my whole life, Liverpool) and one of the most dedicated fans you’ll ever meet.