Not the smoothest of returns for Liverpool in the Champions League, but a dramatic finish allowed them to come away with a 2-1 win over Ludogorets, getting a debut goal from Mario Balotelli and an injury time winner by Steven Gerrard. Arsenal crashed and burned in Dortmund, losing 2-0 in an awful performance to the home side with goals from Ciro Immobile and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Nerves and injured players (Daniel Strurridge) seemed to be the headline as Liverpool played in the competition for the first time in five years. For Ludogorets it was a first in the Champions League, but they didn’t seem afraid to attack and press the hosts, backed by vocal fans that seemed quite dominant among the Anfield faithful.
After a much improved second half, Liverpool finally scored in the 80th minute as Mario Balotelli, pretty much on his own, got his chance to make an impact on the match and score his first for his new team. Ludogorets equalized through Dani Abalo after some poor defending. However, Javi Manquillo was fouled in the penalty box by goalkeeper Borjan, allowing Steven Gerrard to score from the penalty spot and find himself as the hero once again.
Arsenal put on one of their poorest displays in recent years, looking like a team that doesn’t really belong in the Champions League as they came up with only three shots at goal compared to Dortmund’s 21, playing with a patched up defense.
Dortmund are starting to look more like the team we’re used to seeing in recent years with some quick build up and a “full court press” that allowed them to embarrass Arsenal time after time, keeping them from having any moments of dominance.
Ciro Immobile scored the opener just before half time and it was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who finished the job three minutes later in the opening of the second half. Dortmund kept looking for more goals, Arsenal were waiting for the nightmare to end.