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UEFA Europa League
25 October 2012
• Anfield, Liverpool
Referee: B. Nijhuis
• Attendance: 39358
S. Downing 53'
That's about it from me tonight, I'm Adam Mazrani and thanks for reading! Till next time!
That's full-time here and Liverpool have taken a satisfactory victory against Anzhi. Rodgers' men were impressive enough in patches although the Northern Irishman will be concerned that his side continue to not take their chances. As for Anzhi, well you have to say it was a bit of a disappointment from them tonight. They may be top of the Russian league at the moment but they will certainly have to improve on the European stage if they are to make an impact in future seasons.
90' + 1'
Suarez has had a shocker tonight. He's just gifted the ball to Anzhi several times when all he's needed to do is hold onto the ball and guarantee the home side victory. Looks like it won't make any difference though.
Three minutes of added time here. Young Boys are 3-1 up against Udinese meaning that victory here for Liverpool will send them top of Group A.
Liverpool look like they're going to come away with a win tonight. They've deserved it but it's hardly been what you'd call convincing.
What Sterling offers Liverpool is the ability to alleviate pressure, running with the ball at feet for long distances. He's just taken the ball from the halfway line and won a corner for his side. Sterling stuff!
Three minutes of normal time to go. Is Samba about to go up front for Anzhi? Sam Allardyce famously played Samba as the lone striker as manager of Blackburn at Anfield back in 2009. Unsurprisingly, the scoreline finished 4-0 to the hosts.
Gerrard has had a quiet evening but he's just let rip in trademark style from all of 30 yards. However, it flies over the bar.
What a chance for Anzhi! Eto'o's at the heart of it again, he plays a good ball out wide and the ball is fizzed in only for Traore to poke wide of the post when it looked easier to hit the target. You'd have to think that Eto'o would have finished that.
Yellow Card Daniel Agger
Gary Crosby and Thierry Henry are two others to do similar things in recent years. Was clearly an offence though, the ball had not even left Gabulov's hand.
It's like we've gone back in time! Daniel Agger has just been booked for re-creating what George Best did many years ago. After Gabulov had claimed a corner-kick, Agger rose from the deck and simply headed it out of the keeper's hands before putting it in the net. The referee isn't having any of it though and Agger is booked. Superb stuff!
Suarez has had a pretty poor night in all honesty after his bright start. He's just completely ruined a promising counter-attack for the hosts with a dreadful ball that is miles ahead of Sterling.
Make no mistake, the force is with Anzhi. Suddenly there are gaps everywhere in the Liverpool rearguard and Boussoufa has a snap-shot that takes a deflection and drifts past the post. Corner.
Yellow Card Luis Suárez
Eto'o is really pulling the strings here. He's just played a gorgeous pass that splits the Liverpool defence but Boussoufa just can't get it under his control. Pressure building here...
Traore's mere presence has made an impact on this match. Suddenly Anzhi have a focal point and Eto'o is a spare man. It's not quite a worrying time yet for the home side but it's getting there. A second goal would be useful.
There goes Anzhi's best chance of the evening so far and looks like I was wrong about Eto'o. Downing shows why he's no left-back with a suicidal pass across the face of his own goal which is picked up by the Anzhi midfield and suddenly Eto'o is in the middle of the area with only Jones to beat. However, surprisingly, his shot is just too close to the Aussie goalkeeper. Let-off for Liverpool that.
Anzhi look like they're just coming into the game somewhat. Eto'o really is playing the midfield fulcrum role. He's just shown great pace to catch up with Raheem Sterling and nick the ball cleanly from the feet of the speedster.
Lacina Traore has just come on for Anzhi to replace Smolov. He's an absolute beast of a man and is an out-and-out target man. Surely the Russians will produce a little more now?
There's suddenly a vast amount of space for Liverpool to hurt Anzhi with and Suarez in particular seems to be relishing it. A penetrative run from the striker almost finds the on-rushing Shelvey but the young midfielder can't quite take it in his stride and the chance is lost. At this point it's a matter of when, not if Liverpool get a second goal.
Sterling has been electric since his introduction. He really does have a big future at Anfield. One only hopes he develops as he should and is not distracted as young players often can be. The young winger is only *just* offside when put in by a superb Gerrard pass.
It may be early to say...but the players Anzhi will have looked to have been poor tonight. Eto'o has tried hard but he can't do it on his own. Zhirkov in particular has offered nothing.
Liverpool really have the bit between their teeth now. Assaidi is having a storming game, his work-rate is really catching the eye here as he chases down what looked like a lost cause before finding Shelvey with a cute pass that the England international can only scuff into the arms of Gabulov.
It's all Liverpool now and Suarez has just produced a sensational effort that ripples the side netting. The home side are rampant. Anzhi are rocking.
Assist Jonjo Shelvey
Goal Stewart Downing
GOALLL!!!!! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!!!! IT'S STEWART DOWNING!!!!! Downing picks up the ball in the left-back position, trundles forward unchallenged, cuts inside before unleashing a superb strike that arrows past Gabulov into the corner of the net. Remarkable scenes here! Downing does love the Europa League, that's his second goal in this tournament already this season.
Liverpool really might be made to pay for these missed chances. It's hard to imagine Eto'o not getting a chance this evening and it's equally hard to imagine him not taking that chance.
Another chance for Liverpool goes begging as Gerrard finds himself in acres of space but guides his header from a Sterling cross wide of the post with the keeper beaten.
First attempt on goal of the second half and unsurprisingly it's Liverpool who have it. Martin Skrtel nicks the ball in midfield, charges forward and produces a well-struck shot that is again straight at Gabulov.
Guus Hiddink's half-time instructions seem to have been to make Samuel Eto'o Anzhi's midfield playmaker. Liverpool will be happy about that, the former Barcelona and Inter Milan hitman is hardly going to score from the half-way line.
Rumours that Johnson picked up a bit of a knock and didn't want to be risked ahead of the Merseyside derby on Sunday. Makes sense really. Assaidi and Sterling now on the flanks for Liverpool - oof.
We're back underway here.
Sterling's come on for Glen Johnson, looks like Downing's heading to left-back....what that says about the latter, I'll leave for you to decide.
How can Liverpool improve? Well giving Luis Suarez the ball would be a good start. The lone striker looks to have Christopher Samba in particular in kittens every time he runs with the ball, though the Anzhi defence have done well to limit Suarez' involvement since his early-game flurries.
LIVE Half-time here at Anfield and 0-0 probably a fair reflection of thie first period. Liverpool have had the best of the chances so far but again look set to struggle for goals. Anzhi - and Samuel Eto'o in particular - are sure to pose more of a threat in the second half and the Reds will have to be wary of being hit on the counter. That's our man David Lynch at Anfield. Seems he feels rather different to me on that first half!
That's the last action of the first-half. It's becoming a cliche for Liverpool really: a very good start to the match, some good attacking play but just not the goals to match. Anzhi have had a touch here, they've been extremely quiet to say the least. Surely there's more to come in the second half?
The Russians have just had their first shot! Smolov, who besides Eto'o has been the visitor's stand-out player tonight has just had a shot that flies past Brad Jones' left-hand post. One minute of stoppage time here.
The game looks to be meandering to half-time here. After a promising start it's petered out somewhat....Anzhi will be very pleased to go in at half-time goalless.
Yellow Card Kamil Agalarov
The difference between Assaidi and Downing on the wings for Liverpool is quite remarkable. The former is always looking to take players on and look's full of talent and enthusiasm. As for the latter...well....
....so Daniel Agger looks to take the initiative. However, his long-range thunderbolt only flies over the bar.
A quiet period here. Liverpool need to wary. Anzhi have been absolutely awful so far but with someone like Eto'o up front you don't really want to give them half a chance...
A penalty shout at Anfield as Johnson finds himself deep inside the Anzhi box and initially looks to simply miss his kick with the goal gaping. However, on closer evidence, you could argue he was pushed by Agalarov.
Comedy capers at Anfield. Anzhi finally have some decent ball possession deep inside the Liverpool half but having worked their way into a decent position, a frankly horrific pass from Boussoufa sails out of play when right-back Agalarov was well-placed.
I don't know why, but I like Glen Johnson at left-back. He just looks such a threat going forward. Of course he hasn't been tested too much going the other way so far, but he's been very impressive in this first half-hour.
Assaidi has been very, very bright so far for Liverpool. Where has he been so far in the Premier League? The wide-man produces some superb work to win the ball inside of the penalty box only to barely test the keeper with his shot. He looks a real talent though and outside of Suarez, Liverpool's best chance of a goal.
We've just seen our first little glimpse of what Anzhi can do. Some good work from Eto'o sets Smolov away for what looks like a routine first-time shot across the face of goal. However, the winger delays the shot and the chance is gone.
Are Anzhi really top of the Russian league?
Best chance of the game for Liverpool. Some poor play again from Anzhi in midfield sees Suarez away for the home side. He squares it to Shelvey who with only the keeper to beat skies his shot over the bar. Should be 1-0.
Samba's just gone in the book for a quite cynical "tackle" on Suarez. You just get the feeling the Uruguayan is just a tad too quick for the big Congo defender. Could be one to watch.
Yellow Card Christopher Samba
Again it's Liverpool who are doing all the running and some twinkling wing-play from Assaidi sees Glen Johnson take a shot from just inside the box that is again straight at Gabulov. Anzhi have been poor, Liverpool impressive.
Don't rub your eyes Liverpool fans, but Stewart Downing has just nutmegged someone. Typically however, it comes to nothing as Zhirkov recovers to take the ball away for the visitors.
We've just seen our first glimpse of Samuel Eto'o....as the highest paid player in the world (reportedly) fails to control a pass and rather amateurishly lets it bounce out of play for a goal-kick. What a waste of money.
Some good news from Switzerland, Young Boys are beating Udinese. It's easy to forget that if Liverpool want to qualify from Group A they really need a win tonight, considering they lost to Udinese at Anfield in their last European outing.
Suarez is at the heart of everything Liverpool are doing well at the moment and finds himself free on the edge of the box but only produces a weak shot that faces to test Gabulov in the Anzhi goal.
LIVE A short break in play here as Smolov receives treatment. The wideman went up for a challenge with Martin Skrtel only for the Slovakian centre-back to rake his studs down the Anzhi man's thigh. The Liverpool defender is rather fortunate the referee didn't see that. That from David Lynch...didn't see that myself, but who's to argue with our man at the ground!
Guus Hiddink's men are top of the Russian League at the moment. No surprise really when you've got Samuel Eto'o as your main striker. They certainly aren't showing it at Anfield so far though. In fact Suarez has just produced another moment of magic out wide but his cross his overhit.
Anzhi have shown us nothing so far.
It's certainly been all Liverpool so far and some good attacking play results in their first corner of the evening. However, a loose pass from Gerrard ensures it comes to nothing.
Suarez looks lively already. Twisting and turning, he nearly fashions an opportunity for himself but Christopher Samba, once of Blackburn of course, thunders in to clear.
Liverpool have started pretty well. Anzhi have barely got the ball so far. It really is a surprisingly strong line-up considering the trip to Goodison Park on Sunday...
And we're off!
Just a couple of minutes away from kick-off now....I've got to say...I'm as excited as you can get for this Europa League clash! Should be a good one!
Our man David Lynch is at Anfield tonight and he has this to say: LIVE The Anzhi fans are in good voice already tonight and waving flags in their club colours as the teams are read out. To be fair, you'd expect little else from a club who have travelled as far as they have tonight - they might as well make the most of it.
Looking forward to seeing Anzhi play tonight. There's been a lot said about them but I'd wager this is the first time the majority have seen them play. We know all about Eto'o of course, it's always a pleasure to see him. I'm a personal lover of strikers of his ilk. However, I'll be interested to see just how good they are as a team.
So a surprisingly strong team for Liverpool then, particularly considering the Merseyside derby on Sunday. Interesting to see Suarez starting. He's Liverpool's only fit senior striker. What happens if he picks up an injury tonight? Seems like a risk to me. Gerrard as well? Maybe Brendan Rodgers cares just a little bit more about the Europa League then he's letting on.
Liverpool: Jones, Wisdom, Skrtel, Agger, Johnson, Gerrard, Sahin, Shelvey, Downing, Suarez, Assaidi. Subs: Gulacsi, Henderson, Carragher, Allen, Fernandez Saez, Sterling, Yesil. Anzhi Makhachkala: Vladimir Gabulov, Agalarov, Samba, Joao Carlos, Zhirkov, Shatov, Georgi Gabulov, Boussoufa, Carcela-Gonzalez, Eto'o, Smolov. Subs: Pomazan, Gadzhibekov, Lakhiyalov, Tagirbekov, Logashov, Mukhammad, Traore. Referee: Bas Nijhuis (Holland)
Good evening everyone and welcome to Goal.com's play by play of Liverpool v Anzhi Makhachkala in the Europa League. That'll be the last time you hear me write the Russians' name in full tonight. I'm sure I don't need to explain why. I'm Adam Mazrani, and I hope you enjoy!
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