| 6.7°C Dublin


BRENDAN Rodgers watched Liverpool stagger to the final day of Champions League qualification with a draw against Ludogorets and finally found some reason to hope.

Liverpool can now guarantee participation in the knockout phase with a win over Basel at Anfield on December 9, after a game which Rodgers described as the one to kick-start their season.

But Liverpool couldn't defend a 2-1 lead in the final minutes and the gloss was removed from a decent performance when Ludogorets equalised in the dying seconds of the game.

"That was more like it. We showed wonderful character. To go a goal behind so early on in this competition, it was great spirt to come back," he said after the game.

"Obviously we are disappointed with the goal at the end but it should be a great night at Anfield," Rodgers added.

"We spoke before the game. I said that this has to be the night that changes our season.

"We showed wonderful resilience and scored two great goals."

The Reds did show courage to recover from goalkeeper Simon Mignolet's third-minute fumble, which allowed Dani Abalo to score in the third minute.

Rickie Lambert scored his second in as many games before Jordan Henderson scored the vital second just before half-time, only for Georgi Terziev to nick an equaliser to secure a 2-2 draw at the death.

3SEE PAGES 78-79