Liverpool vs LudogoretsJake Cooper | 12 Oct 2016
Liverpool return to Champions League football against Ludogorets on Tuesday after an absence of five years and will be hoping to overcome a disjointed start to the season.
The Reds are coming into the Group B clash off the back of defeats to Aston Villa and City but will be boosted by the return of the mercurial Raheem Sterling.
The side’s defensive frailties are a concern to head coach Brendan Rodgers who admitted after the game against Aston Villa on the weekend that it would be something Liverpool needs to work on.
It’s still a problem,” Rodgers said. “We have to defend better, that’s where it starts.
“Just defend, don’t try and be clever. Don’t try and play, just defend and don’t let them have the set-piece in the first place. Then when the ball comes in the box we lose the first duel.”
Rodgers will also still be without the services of striker Daniel Sturridge with a thigh injury which could keep him side-lined for up to 3 weeks.
Easing Rodgers’ worries will be the inexperience of a Ludogorets side who are making their Champions League bow for the first time and have never played in England.
Further compounding the difficulty of the task facing the visitors, premier goalkeeper Vladislav Stoyanov is suspended for the match which means the young Georgi Argilashki is likely to take his place in goal.
The Bulgarian side have had a mixed season so far under coach Georgi Dermendzhiev, winning 7 of their fifteen games to date. They currently sit in the Bulgarian League and Dermendzhiev is upbeat about their chances at Anfield on Tuesday.
The betting predictably gives the Reds a giant start with Rodgers’ side priced just 1.22 for the win while Ludogorets are a huge 12.00 to take home what would be a famous victory.
There is value in first goal scorer bets with Mario Balotelli priced at an attractive 4.00 while Sterling looks a solid bet at 5.00 to net first. Feeling adventurous? Back the ‘Pool to win 3-0 and £10 will return you £70 at Betway.