Simon got a free pass
Following Liverpool’s disappointing draw with PFC Ludogorets in the Champions League last night, Reds boss Brendan Rodgers has refused to blame Simon Mignolet for yet another blunder that could very well have seen his side make a premature exit from the Champions League.
Dani Abalo gave the Bulgarians an early lead when he prodded home a free ball after the Belgian ‘keeper failed to hold on to Marcelinho’s speculative shot. Although Rickie Lambert quickly restored parity before Jordan Henderson gave the visitors a shaky lead before the break, another last minute meltdown in the Reds defence gifted their hosts a generous equalizer and kept the Merseysiders from recording their first win in four matches — something that Rodgers brushed over in his post-match press conference.
It’s safe to say that Mario Balotelli has struggled for form since trading Italy for a second stint in England, but his agent Mino Raiola has ruled out a return to Serie A in Janaury, instead insisting that the striker be given time to reacclimatize to life in the Premier League.
Although Liverpool continue to struggle defensively, their form in front of the net has been almost as worrying; the Anfield outfit scored over a hundred goals last term, but at the time of writing, currently sport a negative goal difference going into the busiest period of the year. Balotelli has found the net twice in fourteen appearances for the Reds, though he’s yet to score in the league — which, according to his representation, is partly due to family issues.
Click on Simon for the “highlights”
We’ve only gone and done it again, haven’t we? A goal up and heading into the final minutes of play and the set-piece monster bites our hand once more — wait, it’s not a monster at all, it’s just poor defending.
A bobble from Simon Mignolet gave PFC Ludogorets a surprising lead coming out of the gate, but a similar piece of lax defending allowed the visiting Reds to tie things up when Rickie Lambert made it two goals in two games with a headed finish. Jordan Henderson put the Anfield outfit into the drivers seat with a fine finish from Raheem Sterling’s cross, but Liverpool never looked like hanging on — and, of course, they didn’t when, despite being surrounded by five red shirts, Georgi Terziev somehow found space to head in the equalizer from an innocuous looking corner.
Ready to hit the road
Although Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has confirmed that the club isn’t looking to bring in any new players when the transfer window re-opens in the New Year, confirmation from Bayern Munich president Franz Beckenbauer that long term target Xherdan Shaqiri could be available in January may change things for the Anfield outfit.
The Swiss international, who the Reds have been heavily linked with and reportedly made a move for during the summer, has failed to fight his way into Pep Guardiola’s first team plans and has continually stated that first team football is his overriding priority. Shaqiri has not only stated a desire to one day play in England, but has ackowledged that a move to Anfield was a realistic option for him before the Bavarian club blocked his transfer — something that apparently won’t happen in January.
We weren’t good enough
Following Sunday’s shock reversal at the hands of Premier League strugglers Crystal Palace, Liverpool have come in for criticism from all angles with former Reds defender Jamie Carragher delivering one of the most scathing verdicts on their performance.
Southampton transplant Rickie Lambert may have scored his first competitive goal for the club he left as a boy in the opening exchanges of the match, but the 32-year old had admitted that neither himself, nor his teammates were up to standard. “We lost the individual battles and it wasn’t good enough. There wasn’t anyone in a Liverpool shirt who was good enough and it was wholly down to the players on the pitch” he said ahead of today’s meeting with PFC Ludogrets in the Champions League. “I do believe it is a lack of confidence at the minute but that will come back. It is not going ideally but it is up to the players on the pitch to ‘dog’ the performances out.”