Five things we learned from Liverpool's draw against Ludogorets

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Liverpool's fate of qualification to the knock-out rounds of the Champions League is now in their own hands, after a 2-2 draw with Ludogorets Razgrad on Wednesday night.

The home side took the lead early on, when Dani Abalo punished Simon Mignolet's dreadful mistake, however it took jut five minutes for Rickie Lambert to net his second goal for the club and put the pair level.

Jordan Henderson then gave the Merseyside club the lead, when he smartly latched onto Rahem Sterling's inch-perfect cross, before a late equaliser from Georgi Terziev meant the two sides took home one point each.

The Reds sit third in Group B with four points, however, meet second place FC Basel next time out, who have six and a win at Anfield would see Brendan Rodgers' side through.

Time up for Mignolet

The Belgian has been a strong talking point this season, with many questioning his abilities. Prior to the game, there had been large speculation of Liverpool bringing in another goalkeeper in January, and now this seems more than likely.

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Mignolet was at fault for the Bulgarian champions' first goal, when dreadfully spilling Marcelinho's effort, granting striker Dani the easiest of tap ins.

Whatever level of football being played, you would expect 'keepers to comfortably gather those types of shots. To not do it on one of the largest stages of them all is another matter.

The ex-Sunderland shot-stopper was further at fault throughout the game. A cross in the first-half prompted Mignolet to come and collect, however, missed the ball completely - not the first time he has done so all season.

The 26-year-old is clearly under pressure in goal and is severely lacking confidence. 

He could easily lose his place in Saturday's game against Stoke City, given the string of errors he's already made this and last season.

Defensive problems remain

It's becoming repetitive that Liverpool have conceded another goal from a set-piece.

Tezriev's header than grabbed Ludogorets an equaliser in the 88th minute was a textbook example you would show children how not to defend a corner.

The Reds had 11 men in the box trying to salvage three points, yet, could still not keep the Bulgarian outfit at bay.

Alberto Moreno was beaten far too easily at the near post, and the ball was flicked on to the unmarked Tezriev. Videos of the goal suggest that Kolo Toure was the man marking the 22-year-old and let his marker go far too easily.

Despite being free, Tezriev still could have been challenged by Glen Johnson for the far post header, but the Liverpool right-back did not attempt to put his body on the line; this is not the first time Johnson has pulled out of a challenge and will undoubtedly not be his last.

Martin Skrtel looked nervous throughout the game, and seemed to lose plenty of physical battles. 

It was strange to see, as usually the Slovakian thrives in battles with strikers, but shied away from the contest on Wednesday night.

Javier Manquillo failed to deal with the inter-changing Ludogorets attack on the left-hand side, and became confused who to mark a lot of the time. If he is struggling against the Bulgarian champions, how will he deal with Chelsea and Manchester City's attacking line who constantly switch places in games?

Seemingly, Liverpool are crying out for a leader at the back. Nobody has stepped into the role and it is becoming a worry for the Reds. 

Lambert has made an impression

Prior to Sunday's game against Crystal Palace, Rickie Lambert was yet to score for his boyhood club.

Albeit, he'd made most of his performances from the bench, however, when he was given a chance, he missed several chances.

He netted his first goal for the Reds at Selhurst Park and that goal has clearly given him plenty of confidence. 

Lambert was again chose to lead the Liverpool front-line in the absence of Mario Balotelli, and showed how much better his attitude is than the Italians.

The former Southampton man latched onto confusion in the Ludogorets defence, and smartly placed his header into the left-hand corner of the goal to put his side on level terms.

That desire and never quit attitude is what Kopites want to see, and have not from Balotelli this season. 

The 32-year-old worked hard throughout the game, and hit some smart passes to create attacks, most notably playing in Sterling for his cross to Henderson for Liverpool's second.

If Balotelli is fit on Saturday, it's difficult to see why he would regain his place. 

Lambert is full of confidence and links much better with his team-mates.

Gerrard is better in a forward role

For the most part this term, Steven Gerrard has been playing in a deeper role, just ahead of the defence.

Over the past few weeks, he's put in a number of disappointing performances, topped in the 3-1 defeat to Palace.

This prompted Rodgers to play the Liverpool captain in an advanced role, and made much more of an impact.

Gerrard was once known in world football for his passing, however, his distribution playing defensive-midfield has been limited.

Playing just off Lambert, it allowed the 34-year-old to spread the play much more openly and caused problems for the Ludogorets defence.

Liverpool fans have been calling for the Reds legend to play further afield, and he answered superbly and will likely continue his role on Saturday against Stoke City.

A night of European glory

For Liverpool to reach the knock-out stages of Europe's elite competition, they must defeat FC Basel to finish second in Group B.

There have been many-a uphill task the Reds have faced in the Champions League.

They are in a similar position as they were ten years ago, when Olympiakos travelled to Anfield. Liverpool needed three points to finish second in their group, and despite being 1-0 down at half-time, the game finished 3-1 to the home side thanks to a Steven Gerrard wonder-goal.

They went on to land the competition that year for a fifth European Cup success, famously defeating AC Milan on penalties after a 3-3 thriller.

With the Reds down in the dumps, it will take everything possible go gain three points.

The Kop is probably the most famous stand in football due to the noise made by Liverpool supporters attending from there.

The Reds' crowd has been described as a '12th man' due to how much is inspires players and gives them extra motivation.

Kopites will be in full flow when the Swiss champions travel to the shores of the River Mersey on December 9, fully behind their team to clinch three points and force their way to a lucrative tie possibly facing the likes of Bayern Munich and Barcelona.

If many of the players who think they have felt the atmosphere at Anfield previously, wait until the Basel game - it will show the commitment and passion of Liverpool fans and bring out extra gears.

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