Win — we’ll discuss the rest later
Liverpool return to the Champions League for the first time in five years when they host Bulgarian side PFC Ludogrets later today at Anfield and Reds defender Dejan Lovren is looking to get off to a winning start as European football returns to Merseyside.
“The Champions League is the Champions League – it’s a big part of football. It’s not the same thing to play for Lyon in the Champions League and for Liverpool. I know Liverpool is a bigger club” he said in a pre-match press conference. “In front of the crowd, it will be something different than the Premier League, especially at home. It will be a massive game. We just need to concentrate and be calm, and to play our game.”
Flying high in the friendly skies
It’s official: ahead of tomorrow’s return to the Champions League, Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson has been named the Reds newest vice-captain.
The 24-year old was famously tipped to leave the club during Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers first season in charge, but after being convinced to stay and fight for his place, the ex-Sunderland man has now come full circle. “Jordan is someone who represents the best values of what we are all about, as a team and as a club,” said boss Brendan Rodgers following the announcement. “Both he and Steven are examples to others in how they conduct themselves on and off the pitch. It’s how they live their lives, it’s how they train and it’s how they approach their work.”
On the mend
The injury crisis at Liverpool is starting to abate somewhat with Slovakian defender Martin Skrtel able to rejoin the group in training, but the Reds bow in this seasons Champions League comes a bit too soon for the experienced defender with boss Brendan Rodgers confirming that he’ll miss out on tomorrow’s match.
The big center-half has missed both the win away to Tottenham Hotspur and the 1-0 loss to Aston Villa at Anfield on Saturday, and even though he’s back and training again, the Northern Irishman isn’t about to risk him when PFC Ludogrets visit Merseyside later today. “It’s probably too early for this game but after a good week’s training he should be ready for West Ham he said in his pre-match press conference. “Apart from that, we’re pretty much the same in terms of injuries.”
The Reds get ready to make their return
At this level, there are no easy games. We saw that on Saturday, didn’t we? Despite being dominant for large swathes of the match, the loss to Aston Villa was a reality check before tomorrow’s return to Fantasy Land. We might be playing a side that’s only been around since 2001, but that’s no reason to be overly optimistic.
It’s been five years since Liverpool played a Champions League match and the buzz around the club since we secured a return to Europe’s most important club competition as been nothing short of immense. Tomorrow, the long wait for another fantastic European night at Anfield comes to an end when the Reds host Bulgarian side PFC Ludogorets in their opening match of Group B — a meeting that we’re not about to take lightly.
Click here for the the lowlights
It’s Aston Villa, isn’t it? Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers did his absolute best to banish the myth of the “bogey team” last year by downing pretty much each and every one of the sides that the Reds have traditionally struggled with, but the Villains have continued their amazing run of form at Anfield to keep their unbeaten start to the season going.
Full credit to Villa boss Paul Lambert — his side came with a plan and they executed it to near perfection. Contain, stifle and counter-attack was the name of the game and when Liverpool leaked an early one, there was no need to deviate from it. Kopites everywhere don’t even have to watch Gabriel Agbonlahor’s early goal to understand that it was born not so much out of the visitors ingenuity and work rate as it was out of the Reds terrible record on the backfoot. It killed us last year and it’s starting to do it again.