BR Post Match Reaction: Reds Not Up To Standard

br-liverpoolLiverpool manager Brendan Rodgers admits his side have yet to reach the standard they set themselves last season but was relieved to open their Champions League campaign with a 2-1 victory.

Mario Balotelli’s first goal for the club eight minutes from time looked to have won the game only for Ludogorets substitute Dani Abalo to roll in a 90th-minute equaliser for the Bulgarians.

However, captain Steven Gerrard scored an even later penalty after Javier Manquillo was brought down by goalkeeper Milan Borjan to ensure Liverpool’s return to Europe’s elite club competition after a five-year absence did not fall flat.

Liverpool Must Learn To Break Down Defensive Teams Says Owen

liverpool-kopFormer Liverpool striker Michael Owen believes the Reds must learn to break down defensive-minded teams, as they kick off their first Champions League campaign for five years against Ludogorets Razgrad.

Liverpool host the Bulgarian champions at Anfield tonight and hope to bounce back from their 1-0 home loss against Aston Villa in the Premier League.

Their most recent Champions League match before tonight was in 2009 against Fiorentina, who won 2-1 on English soil with a last-gasp strike from Alberto Gilardino.

Owen believes Brendan Rodgers and his players have a relatively comfortable return to Champions League life, but also said they may be frustrated by their opponents.

BR On Villa Defeat

br-liverpoolLiverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, shorn of the attacking pace of injured Daniel Sturridge and opting to drop Raheem Sterling to the bench, admitted his side struggled to break down the visitors.

“It is disappointing. We started slowly, gave away a poor goal, picked up the tempo after that and the players gave everything but we lacked that bit of quality and the final ball,” said the Northern Irishman

“You have to give Aston Villa credit, they defended well once they got the goal, kept their lines tight in a low block and we couldn’t get the final pass so it was really frustrating for us.

Liverpool Stunned At Home By Villa

lfc-dressing-roomIf Liverpool needed any needed a reminder how tough life will be without last season’s two leading goalscorers, it was provided by Aston Villa.

Paul Lambert’s side grabbed an early lead in the Premier League match through Gabriel Agbonlahor and then clung on for a 1-0 success as their hosts struggled to create clear-cut chances.

With Daniel Sturridge sidelined for up to three weeks with a thigh injury – for which manager Brendan Rodgers has still not forgiven England – it meant Liverpool started a game without him or Luis Suarez, a summer departure to Barcelona, for the first time since December 2012.

Rodgers questions England’s handling of Sturridge injury

SturridgeLiverpool manager Brendan Rodgers claims Daniel Sturridge’s thigh injury could have been prevented had England managed him differently.

The Reds’ forward picked up the knock while training with the national side, and missed the Three Lions’ 2-0 victory against Switzerland on Monday night.

But Rodgers believes the Three Lions’ coaching and medical staff got things wrong with the way they approached the situation, and the injury could have been avoided had the 25-year-old’s recovery from training been handled properly..

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Liverpool Send Coates To Sunderland On Loan

The-Kop-150x220Liverpool’s Uruguayan international Sebastian Coates has joined Sunderland on a season-long loan on Monday. The 23-year-old centre-back had struggled to earn playing time at Anfield and Sunderland manager Gus Poyet snapped up his compatriot before the transfer window closed until January.

Coates – who sprang to prominence in the Uruguay side that won the 2011 Copa America – made only 24 appearances, with just six starts in the English Premier League, during his three years with Liverpool.

“Defender Sebastian Coates has joined Sunderland on a season-long loan from Liverpool,” a Sunderland statement confirmed. “The 23-year-old Uruguay international is the Black Cats’ eighth summer signing.”

Sterling steals Balotelli’s thunder

sterling-liverpoolLiverpool debutant Mario Balotelli generated all the pre-match hype, but it was Raheem Sterling who provided the magic in Sunday’s Barclays Premier League clash with Tottenham.

Sterling ignited the 3-0 rout at White Hart Lane with an eighth-minute opener and tormented Spurs with a display that will have delighted England coach Roy Hodgson ahead of the forthcoming fixtures against Norway and Switzerland.

The 19-year-old’s finest moment saw him weave a path through the home defence only to fire a tame shot at Hugo Lloris, prompting Brendan Rodgers to joke: “Raheem ran into the box like Ricky Villa and finished it like Ricky Gervais”.

Reds Reportedly Want Behaviour Clauses Written Into Balotelli’s Contract.

Mario-Balotelli-AC-MilanSigns that Liverpool have learnt from their experiences with Luis Suarez, as reports suggest that the Reds want stringent behaviour clauses written into Mario Balotelli’s contract.

Rodgers is known to have had doubts about the player’s temperament, and is wary of disrupting the team spirit he has created at Anfield.

That is why the club want clauses in Balotelli’s contract that will see the striker fined if he misbehaves significantly.

Glenn Hayes, an employment law partner at national law firm, Irwin Mitchell, said in a press release: