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Liverpool travel to Sofia to face Ludogorets in the Champions League on Wednesday night, where a victory for the Reds will put them into a good position to qualify to the knock-out rounds.
The Reds are third in the Group B table with three points and ideally need two wins in their next two Champions League games, including today, to progress to the next phase of the competition.
And the task is easier said than done. Having suffered four defeats in a row, the pressure is mounting on the shoulders of Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers. Senior players were heavily criticised while the future of the Reds’ manager has been speculated as well.
Although such talks are futile at the moment, as Rodgers enjoys a full backing of Liverpool owners (FSG); the Reds manager acknowledges that his team is in dire need of positive results and therefore will select a side that can fetch him full three points on Wednesday.
Rodgers has vowed to do everything he possibly can to turn things around, while Adam Lallana has urged fellow team-mates to show unity on the pitch.
Liverpool will be without Daniel Sturridge, who has been ruled out for the rest of the year, while Italian striker Mario Balotelli didn’t travel with the rest of the squad due to groin problems.
Vice-captain Jordan Henderson however trained yesterday and should be in contention to start against the Bulgarian champions.
The Times journalist Tony Barrett gave an inside info of how Rodgers might field his starting XI tonight. Lucas Leiva could be recalled in the defensive midfield role allowing Steven Gerrard to play high-up the pitch. Kolo Toure impressed against Real Madrid and the Ivorian could replace Dejan Lovren in central defence.
“The philosophy is important and we know how we want to work but you need to get results,” said Rodgers.
“You need to find results. We would take a scrappy win. Listen, you can’t play perfect football. It is going to be tough. We want to get a result. My time has been spent trying to find the structure to give us the balance to attack and ultimately to defend — you have to be able to defend.”
It’s becoming very difficult these days to predict the results when Liverpool are involved, however, the Reds will be looking to bounce back strongly and therefore should pose a strong fightback. 2-1 victory for the visitors.