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Anzhi Makhachkala 1-0 Liverpool (FT)

Hello, and welcome to this evening’s liveblog. The two starting line-ups can be seen below:

Anzhi Makhachkala: Georgi Gabulov, Logashov, Samba, Joao Carlos, Tagirbekov, Ahmedov, Jucilei, Zhirkov, Eto’o, Boussoufa, Traore. Subs: Pomazan, Gadzhibekov, Agalarov, Lakhiyalov, Carcela-Gonzalez, Smolov, Burmistrov.

Liverpool: Jones, Wisdom, Carragher, Coates, Flanagan, Henderson, Coady, Cole, Shelvey, Downing, Morgan. Subs: Gulacsi, Assaidi, Pacheco, Wilson, Fernandez Saez, Sama, Robinson.

If you hadn’t noticed already, Liverpool have fielded a reserve side for this fixture.

They do have the new Steven Gerrard*, Conor Coady, in their line-up, however.

*May not actually be as good as Steven Gerrard.

We’re underway…

It’s been a quiet opening three minutes.

Liverpool have been passing the ball about calmly, without offering much in the way of attacking invention as of yet.

“Of course, he’s only gone there for the money, hasn’t he?”

3e’s Lou Macari clearly doesn’t think much of Guus Hiddink as a person.

With 16 minutes played, I don’t think either side have had a shot on target.

Anzhi are controlling the game though, and have enjoyed the majority of possession.

Anzhi seem to have a similar style to the Russian national side, with a patient build-up and emphasis on keeping the ball on the ground.

Unfortunately from their perspective however, the build-up is all too patient right now.

Chance for Liverpool, as Morgan plays through Henderson on goal.

However, the ex-Sunderland man tries to square it across the box, but gives it straight to an Anzhi defender.

He would have been far better off just shooting in that instance.

“The cross was awful from Jonjo Shelvey,” says Trevor Welch, after another Liverpool attack breaks down all too easily.

I’m sure I’ve heard that line before.

Anzhi finally make inroads into Liverpool territory, however, after a nice exchange of passes, Traore disappointingly scuffs his shot.

Meanwhile, Anzhi have already made a substitution, as Odil Ahmedov comes off for Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez.

Anzhi have definitely stepped it up.

Following a break down Liverpool’s right, the ball across the box finds Eto’o, whose shot stings the fingertips of Brad Jones, as the goalkeeper parries the ball away for a corner.

Wisdom really showed his lack of experience for that last Anzhi attack.

The defender gave possession away cheaply, allowing the hosts to break and subsequently create the chance.

It’s 4-2 to Anzhi in terms of attempts on goal, which reflects how dire the first-half has been.

The Russians have been a little disappointing, particularly as they’re playing a second-string Liverpool side at home.

GOAL FOR ANZHI!

Traore lifts the ball over the head of Coates, before consummately lobbing Brad Jones to give Anzhi the lead.

That’s a classy goal, in a game that’s barely deserved one.

HALF-TIME: ANZHI 1-0 LIVERPOOL

So at half-time, Liverpool may feel somewhat aggrieved that they’re behind.

They’ve rarely threatened, yet the same could be said of Anzhi, prior to their late first-half goal.

Nonetheless, the hosts have consistently looked more confident in possession and therefore, always seemed more likely to score the game’s first goal.

And with Liverpool short of options having rested a number of first-team players for this tie, it’s difficult to see how they can get back into the game.

The second half is underway…

Steven Gerrard was famously lambasted in the past for comparing Joe Cole to Lionel Messi.

But perhaps Brendan Rodgers paid heed to this comment, as Cole is tonight playing in the false 9 role that’s invariably occupied by the Argentinian.

A clever pass from Cole finds Morgan, yet his shot from a tight angle hits the side-netting, when he would been better advised to put in a cross.

The second half so far hasn’t been much better than the first in terms of quality or entertainment, unfortunately.

Eto’o curls a shot from just outside the box that Jones saves comfortably.

Meanwhile, in tonight’s other match, Newcastle are a goal down, with Trickovski scoring for Bruges.

Traore nutmegs Henderson beautifully, before shooting just wide.

This game appears to be getting a bit more open now.

You get the sense that Anzhi could win this game comfortably if they added a bit more urgency to their attack.

At the moment, they’re passing it around in a somewhat laborious fashion, requiring about 10 passes before they get near the Liverpool goal.

And elsewhere, Jesper Jorgensen has doubled Bruges’ advantage against Newcastle.

Liverpool substitution: Suso and Daniel Pacheco replace Conor Coady and Adam Morgan, as the visitors look to pose more of an attacking threat (or any at all, for that matter).

A pot shot by Pacheco is spilled by the Anzhi goalkeeper, and he does well to block Joe Cole’s follow-up shot.

Meanwhile, down the other end, Traore misses a golden opportunity to seal a victory, as he slots a one-on-one just wide.

The game is unsurprisingly becoming far more open now.

Liverpool are pushing forward for an equaliser, while the hosts look threatening on the counter-attack.

Roughly seven minutes remain.

Jonjo Shelvey has come close to hitting the corner flag with a sliced free-kick.

This game appears to be a lose cause for Liverpool.

The same cannot be said for Newcastle though, as Anita has pulled a goal back against Bruges.

FULL-TIME: ANZHI 1-0 LIVERPOOL

So, Anzhi have triumphed, in what wasn’t the most enthralling game of football you’ll ever see.

While the Russians weren’t always effective in attack, they largely dominated possession and controlled the game for the most part.

Liverpool offered virtually no threat in attack, and their conspicuous lack of depth in the striking department was once again highlighted.

Though they can be encouraged by the fact that they were often resolute at the back, and didn’t collapse at any point, they were unquestionably beaten by a better team on the night.

Shola Ameobi has equalised for Newcastle.

Right, I’m off for now. Thanks for reading and commenting.

I’ll be back shortly to liveblog Tottenham’s Europa League match against Maribor.

About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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