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The Reds boss has insisted the club are focused on matches, not future players, and is hoping his side can start to reverse their fortunes with a win at Ludogorets


Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says he is not keeping a lookout for winter transfer recruits despite a poor start to the season.

The Reds are currently 12th in the Premier League table, just four points off the relegation places and have lost their last four games in a row.

Rodgers spent heavily in the summer, following the departure of Luis Suarez, bringing in players such as Mario Balotelli, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren but has played down any further arrivals.

“It [buying new players] is not something I am looking at,” he told reporters. “After the weekend, the focus was not to dwell on that. We have to learn from that and try and get a result here [Ludogorets].”

Liverpool face Ludogorets in the Champions League on Wednesday needing a win to boost their qualification hopes and Rodgers is hoping his side can begin to turn their season around.

“Sometimes it just takes a game, an action to change a season for you,” he added. “We have to believe that can happen. We haven’t been anywhere near our levels. But you can never give up.

“We have to believe that the honesty of the group will get us the results and that is what we will keep working towards.

“I just need to get us back to a level of confidence that allows you to perform. Losing can be the making of you. You learn from it. That is what we are aiming to do.

“When you don’t have so much coaching time, it is mostly psychological what you are trying to achieve. If we focus on that too much there is no way we could play to our level.

“We need to make sure the training ground is a happy place to be. We have lost more than we would have liked. But the next game is an opportunity. You try to affect the players in a positive way.”

With the Reds coming into a must-win Champions League game after three consecutive defeats in the competition, the Northern Irishman wants to settle nerves with the first strike


Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is looking for his side to boost their hopes of reaching the Champions League last 16 with a fast start against Ludogorets.

After three consecutive defeats in Group B, the Reds need to beat the Bulgarians and Basel in their final two matches to progress.

They go into Wednesday’s game having lost their last four in all competitions, though, and Rodgers knows that an early goal is essential for his struggling players.

“The way I work is to never dwell on the past,” he told reporters. “Anyone can make mistakes. We need to focus on the next game.

“We will keep fighting and working in the belief that the honesty and commitment of the group will get us the results.

“We haven’t gotten the results and we haven’t been consistent. If we get the first goal, that can give us the confidence.”

The Liverpool boss expects a tough test against the side whom they beat 2-1 on matchday one, however.

“It’s the same as any other game,” he added. “We give Ludogorets a lot of respect. They have showed they are a good side with very good players [in the first game]. It was a very tough game at Anfield.

“We arrive here with big motivation. We will do everything we can to get a result.”

The Reds have lost their last three Champions League outings and have endured torrid form domestically, and defeat in Bulgaria could make qualification virtually impossible


Brendan Rodgers has demanded an improvement from his Liverpool side ahead of a “massive” Champions League clash with Ludogorets.

The Merseyside club suffered a fourth consecutive defeat in all competitions when Crystal Palace came from behind to win 3-1 at Selhurst Park in the Premier League on Sunday.

That latest setback has left Liverpool in 12th position, 10 points down on the tally they had managed this time last season – a campaign that saw them narrowly miss out on the title.

Rodgers has now turned his attention to securing a much-needed victory over Bulgarian champions Ludogorets, who need a win at Vasil Levski National Stadium on Wednesday to stay in the competition.

Liverpool have lost all three Group B matches since beating Ludogorets at Anfield and face a battle to progress with leaders Real Madrid, who have won all four matches.

Both sides have only three points but know a victory would move them level with second-placed Basel, who face Liverpool at Anfield in their final group game, if the Swiss champions lose to European champions Real.

Rodgers took responsibility for the defeat to Palace, but the Northern Irishman wants his side to stand up and be counted in Sofia.

He said: “We just have to work harder. We go away bitterly disappointed with the result and the performance and we have to very quickly put it right, because we’ve got a massive game now in the week.

“Every game now for us, right the way through a really busy schedule, is an important game. We have to be better. We picked a team [on Sunday] that we thought could win the game, and the players who played and the ones on the sidelines are very committed.

“They give me everything every day, but at this moment in time, we’re not good enough and we need to find answers very quickly.

“We’ve been a very close group for a couple of years, but we had to make changes in the summer. We had to bring players in – the group was very thin.”

Rodgers will be hoping to welcome back Jordan Henderson after the England midfielder missed the defeat against Neil Warnock’s side due to illness.

The Liverpool boss has doubts over Mario Balotelli (hamstring), Jose Enrique (knee), and Mamadou Sakho (thigh), while Daniel Sturridge (thigh), Suso (groin) and Jon Flanagan (knee) are definitely out.

Ludogorets head into the game on the back of a 1-1 draw in a top-of-the-table clash with A PFG leaders CSKA Sofia on Saturday, and know only three points will do.

A 4-0 hammering at Basel earlier this month was a major blow to their chances of reaching the last 16, having beaten Paulo Sousa’s men last month.

A draw would end Georgi Dermendzhiev’s side’s Champions League adventure and they will be out of contention to move into the Europa League with a defeat.

The Italian was ready to lure his compatriot to Ligue 1, but eventually opted to sign the Sweden international instead because he was the “safer” option

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has revealed that he nearly signed Mario Balotelli during his time in charge of Paris Saint-Germain.

Ancelotti was desperate to lure a high-profile attacker to Paris ahead of his second season in charge of PSG and he had earmarked Balotelli as a potential signing.

Nevertheless, he eventually opted against bringing the current Liverpool striker to Parc des Princes when the opportunity arose to sign the “safer” option Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

“Would I sign Balotelli? I actually tried to sign him at Paris Saint-Germain,” Ancelotti was quoted as saying by La Repubblica.

“He had just impressed at Euro 2012 with Italy.

“But then the opportunity to sign Ibrahimovic came up. We decided to go for the safer option.”

Balotelli would eventially leave Manchester City for AC Milan, before joining Liverpool ahead of the 2014-15 campaign.

The Italy international has so far struggled to make an impact at Anfield, but Ancelotti is confident he will eventually come good.

“Mario has to find a place to feel at ease. I have no doubt that he will succeed in the end. But it all depends on himself.”

The 24-year-old has netted two goals in 14 games in all competitions so far this season.

The 24-year-old has underwhelmed since joining Liverpool in the summer for £16 million but his representative played down links with a move back to Italy


Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli will not be returning to Italy, his agent Mino Raiola has stated.

The Italian joined the Reds for €20 million in the summer but a combination of poor form and Liverpool’s dismal start to the season has seen him linked with a move back to Italy.

Reports have suggested his former side Inter are now in the hunt for the 24-year-old. Roberto Mancini, who coached the forward at Manchester City and had several fallouts with him at that time, has recently taken over at the Nerazzurri, but Raiola insists he isn’t going to pair up with his former manager at San Siro.

“A return to Inter is impossible. Not because of Mancini, but for other reasons which aren’t worth talking about,” Raiola said.

“Even Napoli [is out of the question]. Mario will not return to Italy.”

Balotelli has struggled to adjust to life at Anfield, scoring just twice in 14 games since moving from AC Milan but his representative believes he will rediscover the form that has seen him labelled as one of the brightest prospects in the game.

Raiola added: “He is lacking goals and he doesn’t run well, but this is a time that must pass. He now has this injury and we hope he recovers as soon as possible.

“The relationship with the team? It is perfect, the English journalists must not be part of his life.”

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