A beleaguered Liverpool outfit cannot afford another setback as they travel to Bulgaria to face Ludogorets Razgrad in a must-win game.
After defeating the Champions League debutants in September, the Reds have gone on to lose their last three Group B games without scoring, leaving them third, three points behind Basel, who they play at Anfield in a potentially crucial clash on match day six.
Brendan Rodgers and his side could hardly come into this match in worse form, having lost each of their last four in all competitions, leaving them a desperately poor 12th in the Premier League, with the Northern Irishman’s position is manager now coming under pressure from some quarters.
The sight of Rickie Lambert opening his account for his hometown club should have breathed confidence into Liverpool at Crystal Palace on Sunday, only to be pegged back and then suffer a humbling defeat thanks to another cumbersome and listless display, with key players such as Raheem Sterling underperforming.
Ludogorets are only behind Liverpool on head-to-head record, so will feel that they still have got a very good opportunity to make the knockout stages. While that may seem far-fetched, third place and a Europa League berth is not of the question, while they will fancy their chance here, backed by a partisan crowd.
Jordan Henderson is back for Liverpool after illness, with Rodgers set to make changes from the game at Selhurst Park. Mario Balotelli has not travelled, but should be in contention for Saturday’s meeting with Stoke City.
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