Friday, 9 November 2012

Anzhi Makhachkala v Liverpool

A tough trip to Anzhi saw the tie played at a neutral ground in Moscow due to Anzhi's home stadium being based in 'dangerous' Dagestan.

Surprisingly Brendan Rodgers fielded a very weak side while Suarez and Gerrard were not even included in the travelling squad.

Anzhi created the first opening as Tagirbekov's left foot shot across goal attempted to test Jones in the Liverpool goal but the shot was wayward.

Liverpool should have opened the scoring in the 23rd minute as Morgan put Henderson through on goal but rather than take the chance to score, Henderson attempted a pull back and was intercepted by Carlos in the Anzhi defence.

Eto'o tested Jones from 12 yards after Zhirkov stole possession from Andre Wisdom and from there both sides failed to create chances until just before the break when Traore's ingenious flick and spin combo fooled Coates and set himself in on goal but as Jones came out to meet him, Traore lofted the ball over the ailing keeper and put the Russian's ahead at the break.

Liverpool came out pushing for an equaliser and Morgan struck the side netting after being released by Cole and Jones narrowly stopped Traore from bagging a second goal after a hit from 20 yards out.

On the hour mark, the Spanish duo of Pacheco and Suso entered the fray in place of Morgan and Coady and Suso's entry provided a different way of attacking for Liverpool and he was in place for the best chance of the night for the visitors in the 77th minute. He shimmied just outside the box to create some space for a shot but the shot was spilled by Gabulov in the Anzhi goal and as Cole went to tap in he was thwarted by Gabulov.

Traore again came close to his and Anzhi's second and a sure winner as Liverpool pushed for an equaliser, spaces began to appear and a fast counter-attack saw Traore in on goal but saw his resulting shot drift wide.

Liverpool tried to level up but their efforts proved to be in vain as Anzhi held on for the win. Next up is the current European champions in Chelsea, a tie that in recent years has seen Liverpool be the victors on many occasions in the League only to suffer defeat when it really mattered in the FA Cup Final in May.

A win is sorely needed in what is fast becoming a below average season and one which currently will be remembered for Liverpool's failure to put the ball in the net.