Ludogorets boss on plan which came so close to stunning Liverpool

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Ludogorets almost pulled off a shock result at Anfield after losing to a last minute penalty from Steven Gerrard.

Ludogorets coach Georgi Dermendzhiev said they had analysed Liverpool a lot ahead of last night's Champions League Group B opener at Anfield, and they almost pulled off a shock result as the Reds needed a stoppage time penalty from Steven Gerrard to overcome the Bulgarian champions.

Mario Balotelli put Liverpool ahead with 10 minutes to go only for Dani Abalo to equalise in the first minute of stoppage time which seemed to have earned the visitors a point. However, after a mix up in the defence immediately after their equaliser, Javier Manquillo won a penalty after being tripped by goalkeeper Milan Borjan on his debut. 

But Dermendzhiev refused to blame the goalkeeper for the defeat.

He told reporters after the game about their gameplan after he had spent a lot of time analysing their more illustrious opponents: "Our idea was to play safe at the back and give them the smallest chance of scoring a goal, and then to make attacks that would count, create as many chances as possible. The atmosphere was incredible and the fans supported the team throughout the whole match.

"The goalkeeper was upset after the mistake [conceding the decisive penalty]. That's a natural thing, but we are a very good team, we have a very good team spirit, and after the game his new team-mates and I said that it is not a big mistake and everything's fine, everything will be alright in the future. I am not blaming the goalkeeper, I am not annoyed or disappointed with him. This is a decision that has to be made in the moment, so there is nothing to attach blame to."

The unknown Bulgarians certainly proved last night that they won't be the Group B's whipping boys and face European Champions Real Madrid in Sofia on October 1.

Where it not for a breakdown in communication between the new goalkeeper and his defender, it may have been a different story and the Bulgarians will have had a positive start to their campaign. The side can take confidence from their performance at Anfield and will be relishing the games ahead.

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