posted at 22:00
Author Name: Steven Griffiths
Rodgers calls on Reds to rise to Champions League Real challenge
The Reds have been well below their best of much of the season and there were more worrying signs for Rodgers on Sunday when QPR, the Premier League's bottom club, out-played Liverpool for long periods of an chaotic encounter. Given Liverpool's defenders had huge trouble with QPR's willing but limited strike partnership of Bobby Zamora and Charlie Austin, it would be no surprise if Rodgers had suffered a few sleepless nights contemplating how his creaky defence will deal with Real's breathtaking array of attacking talent. With a trip to Madrid next up in a fortnight, Rodgers knows a defeat on Wednesday would leave Liverpool in severe danger of bowing out of the competition at the first hurdle. Rodgers hopes the do-or-die nature of the tie, combined with the Anfield atmosphere, will lift his team out of their current malaise. "Whenever you play in the big games the great competitors come out and I have no doubt with my players as their mentality is very strong," Rodgers said. "Anfield is a special place for a Champions League football game and we are really looking forward to it." With six points already secured from their opening two Champions League games, Real are well on course for the last 16 and could be forgiven for having an eye on the first El Clasico of the season at home to Barcelona on Saturday. If Bale does miss out, Ronaldo will shoulder more of the creative burden and Real's Alvaro Arbeloa, a former Liverpool defender, expects his supremely confident team-mate to have no problems taking the leading role.

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