Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Liverpool Must Learn To Break Down Defensive Teams Says Owen

Former 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. He wrote on Sportlobster.com: “After their lacklustre performance and defeat against Aston Villa at the weekend, Liverpool will be relishing the chance to get back on track tonight when they play their first Champions League match for five years. “The home game against Ludogorets Razgrad is certainly, on paper, the easiest way to gently ease themselves back into the biggest and best club tournament in world football. “However, you can be pretty sure the Bulgarian outfit, who are playing in their very first Champions League tie, will set their stall out to leave Anfield with anything other than a good hiding. “If this proves to be the case, it will be a good examination of Liverpool’s ability to break teams down, whose first ambition at Anfield is to avoid defeat.” But Owen, who scored 118 goals in 216 games for Liverpool, believes the vociferous Anfield support will lift the players and possibly strike fear into the inexperienced Bulgarians. Owen added: “One thing, which could certainly have a huge bearing on the outcome is the atmosphere at Anfield on European nights. “This will be the very first time the Bulgarian team have played in England. “With a capacity of just 6,000 in their stadium, it is fair to say they won’t have seen or heard anything like the incredible wall of noise, which will greet them as they step onto the Anfield turf.” Liverpool are likely to reintroduce Raheem Sterling to the starting line-up and play Mario Balotelli as the striker with Daniel Sturridge currently injured. But with the summer sale of star striker Luis Suarez, Owen said teams may have more chance of coming away from Anfield with a result. He added: “Last season, as everyone witnessed in open-mouthed admiration, Liverpool tore into teams from the very first whistle and on a number of occasions the match was sewn up well before half- time. “Their sheer pace up front as well as the mercurial skills of Luis Suarez was simply too much for most of their Premier League opponents. “However, with Suarez moving on to pastures new and with a whole host of new signings settling in, teams will travel to Anfield with slightly more hope and a considerably more defensive mind-set. “I’m sure Liverpool fans will hope Brendan Rodgers and his team can quickly learn to develop another plan by luring teams in and then hitting them quickly on the counter-attack with their lighting pace up front. “If so, Ludogorets could be in for a long night.” @Last├čornNews(07060428346)

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