Ludogorets v Liverpool background

PFC Ludogorets Razgrad and Liverpool FC are playing for their UEFA Champions League lives when they meet at Sofia's Vasil Levski National Stadium on matchday five.

Jordan Henderson challenges Marcelinho during Liverpool's narrow home win over Ludogorets
Jordan Henderson challenges Marcelinho during Liverpool's narrow home win over Ludogorets ©Getty Images

PFC Ludogorets Razgrad and Liverpool FC are playing for their UEFA Champions League lives when they meet in Sofia on matchday five.

• The clubs sit joint bottom of Group B with three points each and need a victory to retain realistic hope of overtaking second-placed FC Basel 1893.

• There are six teams in UEFA Champions League history who have taken three points or fewer from their opening four group games and still managed to progress from this stage of the competition: Rosenborg BK (1996/97, 3 points); Olympique Lyonnais (2000/01, 3 points); FC Lokomotiv Moskva (2002/03, 1 point); Newcastle United FC (2002/03, 3 points); FC Porto (2004/05, 2 points); VfB Stuttgart (2009/10, 3 points).

Match background

Ludogorets
• Ludogorets won their last home game 1-0 against Basel to become the first Bulgarian club to obtain any points in the UEFA Champions League.

• They have a strong recent home record in UEFA competition, with five wins, three draws and two defeats from the last ten games.

• This is their first home meeting with an English club.

• As last season, Ludogorets are playing their European home matches 400km from Razgrad at Natsionalen Stadion Vasil Levski in Sofia, as their own Ludogorets Arena does not meet UEFA's requirements.

Liverpool
• Liverpool have not scored in the competition since beating Ludogorets 2-1 at Anfield on matchday one. They last failed to score in four consecutive European matches in the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League.

• Liverpool have failed to qualify from the group stage twice in eight previous UEFA Champions League campaigns (2002/03 and 2009/10).

• In the 2001/02 UEFA Champions League, Liverpool found themselves in an identical position in the second group stage with three points after four matches. They still managed to qualify as group runners-up with seven points.

• Liverpool last faced Bulgarian opposition in the 2005/06 third qualifying round when they won 3-1 at PFC CSKA Sofia in the first leg, then lost 1-0 at Anfield in the return.

• Captain Steven Gerrard – who played in the first leg – is the only survivor of that tie. He also featured when Liverpool beat PFC Levski Sofia in the 2003/04 UEFA Cup third round, scoring in both legs as the Merseysiders won 2-0 at home and 4-2 away.

• The Reds' record in Bulgaria is W3 D0 L1. That solitary defeat came when, as defending champions, they lost 2-0 at PFC CSKA Sofia (1-2 aggregate) in the 1981/82 European Champion Clubs' Cup quarter-finals.

Coach and player links
• Cosmin Moţi got the better of Liverpool's neighbours Everton FC with FC Dinamo Bucureşti in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup first round, winning 5-1 at home before a 1-0 defeat on Merseyside. His Dinamo side went down 3-1 at Tottenham Hotspur FC in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup group stage.

• Marcelinho scored when Ludogorets drew 1-1 with Everton in a pre-season friendly in Liverpool in August 2012.

• Alberto Moreno was a second-half substitute for Sevilla FC in a 2-1 win at Brayan Angulo's CD Granada in an Andalusian derby last December.

• Stoyanov watched from the Wembley bench as Gerrard and Glen Johnson helped England beat Bulgaria 4-0 in a UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier in September 2010.

• Alexandre Barthe was in the PFC Litex Lovech side beaten 4-2 on aggregate by Aston Villa FC in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup first round.

Match facts

Ludogorets
• Yordan Minev is available after serving a one-game ban on matchday four. Fábio Espinho is a yellow card away from a suspension.

• Fábio Espinho's first league goal in 14 months earned second-placed Ludogorets a 1-1 draw at Bulgarian top-flight leaders PFC CSKA Sofia on Saturday.

• Georgi Dermendzhiev's men have won five of their last seven fixtures in all competitions.

• Ludogorets have won nine out of 13 on their own turf this season, including victories in each of their last four home games.

• Dani Abalo has scored four goals in Ludogorets' past five league matches.

• Ludogorets have won 14 of their 28 games in all competitions this campaign.

• The Razgrad side have 32 points from 15 league fixtures this season, five fewer than at the same stage last term when they were top of the table.

• Marcelinho's equaliser in the 3-1 win at FC Haskovo on 17 October was his 26th top-flight goal for Ludogorets, a new club record.

• The Bulgarian outfit parted company with coach Stoicho Stoev after the first leg of their third qualifying round tie against FK Partizan, replacing him with the club's academy director, Dermendzhiev.

Liverpool
• Liverpool have lost six of their 12 Premier League games this season. They lost six times in the whole of 2013/14.

• Sunday's 3-1 defeat at Crystal Palace FC – despite Rickie Lambert's first goal for the club in the second minute – means Liverpool have lost four games in a row in all competitions for the first time since September/October 2009.

• Brendan Rodgers' side lost 2-1 at home to Premier League leaders Chelsea FC on 8 November, despite taking the lead courtesy of Emre Can's first goal for the club.

• Mario Balotelli sustained a hamstring injury while training with Italy on 15 November, ruling him out of the Azzurri's matches against Croatia and Albania and Liverpool's game at Palace.

• Daniel Sturridge − out since breaking down on England duty at the start of September − returned to full training earlier this month but sustained a new thigh injury in training on 18 November and is out for another six weeks. Liverpool have won just four of their 15 matches without him.

• Kolo Touré opened the scoring on 14 November as the Ivory Coast won 5-1 away to Sierra Leone in their penultimate 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. He helped his side draw 0-0 with Cameroon five days later, a result that confirmed Ivory Coast's place at the finals in Equatorial Guinea in January and February.

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