Liverpool were rescued by a Steven Gerrard injury-time penalty last night at Anfield in a scary Champions League opening clash against Bulgarian side Ludogorets Razgrad.
It was a dramatic night at Liverpool's home of football last evening and, although the Reds ran out 2 - 1 winners, they have a lot to learn from this epic encounter.
Nightmare on the pitch
It took 82 minutes to open the scoring and it was, first, in favour of the home side. Liverpool's £16 million new recruit Mario Balotelli opened his account and ensured his famous name was on the scoresheet.
A well-taken cross by Alberto Moreno from the left-wing went straight in Balotelli's feet who, then, was the strongest man in the box and fired the ball to the far post.
But the Bulgarian's showed great character as they came back against the deficit nine minutes later, winning the ball in another Liverpool attack and running wide on the counter-attack, the Reds' defence were exposed.
A clever through ball from Hamza Younes, who came on as an 88th minute substitute was just reached by team-mate Danny Abalo, who went around keeper Simon Mignolet to score with a right footed shot from the right-hand side of the box.
As if to spare the blushes of Brendan Rodgers however a stoppage time penalty was awarded to Liverpool after Ludogrets 'keeper Milan Borjan fouled on loan Javi Manquillo in the box. Steven Gerrard cooly converted and Liverpool ran out with a slim win of 2-1, the nightmare was beaten.
A lot to come
It wasn't a classic night at Anfield, especially on their return in the elite tournament after five years of absent.
But captain Gerrard promised that there's a lot to come and a lot more to expect from Liverpool.
"We are very relieved. It was very important to start the competition off with maximum points," Gerrard told Sky Sports.
"I don't think it was a very good performance from ourselves but we have managed to take the three points, which is vital. I think we will get better as the season progresses.
"We have a lot of new faces trying to find their feet and settle in and there is a lot of expectancy on us because of how well we performed last year but it will take time to get back to that level - hopefully sooner rather than later."
New signing's impact
It was something special for Balotelli to score in Liverpool's first Champions League match since 2009, as the striker who moved from AC Milan is looking to re-build a reputation in the Premier League.
Gerrard also praised the hard work of Manquillo, who won the penalty after chasing a lost ball by making a nice run on the right-wing.
Liverpool will later travel to Switzerland to meet with FC Basel and, hopefully, will showcase some clinical finish upfront that would let them celebrate another great moment in the Champions League.
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