Anzhi Makhachkala V Liverpool: Match Preview
The Reds travel to Russia to take on Group A rivals Anzhi Makhachkala
Deputy goalkeeper Brad Jones will continue his sting in goal for Liverpool as first choice keeper Jose Reina has not travelled with the squad . They also leave behind captain Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez, Joe Allen, Nuri Sahin, Daniel Agger, Glen Johnson and Raheem Sterling. So it will largely be down to Liverpool's youth to go to Russia and get a result.
Anzhi will be missing former Chelsea, Arsenal and Portsmouth midfielder Lassana Diarra, who is out for a month after tearing a ligament in his left knee. Russian Premier League top scorer Samuel Eto'o will be fit and raring to go. Anzhi manager Guus Hiddink, who had a spell at Chelsea and guided them to the FA Cup still believes Liverpool are favourites to win the group, after beating Anzhi at Anfield in their previous outing in the Europa League.
Liverpool come into the match on faltering form, winning only two of their last five matches, drawing two and losing one. Although many would say they've been unlucky in some of those matches to not come out with the win, after having a perfectly good goal disallowed against Everton for offside to deny them a vital win in the Premier league. So they'll be looking to make an improvement on Thursday night and push for an important away win.
Last Five Results
Liverpool 1 – 1 Newcastle
Liverpool 1 – 3 Swansea
Everton 2 – 2 Liverpool
Liverpool 1 – 0 Anzhi Makhachkala
Liverpool 1 – 0 Reading
Guus Hiddink's side have also hit a rough patch of form compared to when the two teams last met. Losing two out of their last give games and winning the remaining three. They currently sit second in the Russian League and will be pushing hard for a win against The Reds to make sure they progress to the next stages of this competition.
Last Five Results
Anzhi Makhac 3 – 1 Terek Grozny
Anzhi Makhac 2 – 1 Kryla Sovetov
Rubin Kazam 2 – 1 Anzhi Makhac
Liverpool 1 – 0 Anzhi Makhac
Anzhi Makhac 2 – 1 Spartak Moscow
Liverpool aren't as blessed as they used to be when it comes to having a squad full of world class players but that being said there are still a few players that you would be hard pressed to leave out of almost any team in Europe. But as Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez have been left out of the squad that travelled to Russia I'm going to have to go with someone a little more unknown. Jesús Joaquín Fernández Sáez de la Torre, better known as Suso is 18 years of age but impressed me hugely since being intermittently thrust into the Liverpool first team. He is an attacking midfielder capped in the Spanish U17, U18 and U19's who posses skill vision and pace and is a real prospect for the future so watch this space.
Anzhi's star man has to be former Inter Milan and Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o. The forward moved to the Russia club in August 2011 for a fee of ₤18.4 million. Eto'o has scored a total of 27 goals in 45 games for Anzhi, along with eight assists and has already scored 14 goals in 23 appearances in all competitions this season for Hiddink's side.
All in all this looks as if it will be a thrilling contest with both teams looking to get the three points to help them progress into the next stages of this competition. There will be lots of talent on show in Russia with the likes of Eto'o, Suso and Cole. Along with Liverpool's young talent trying to make a name for themselves, in particular Andre Wisdom who has caught the eye since he has been given a run of games by Brendan Rodgers.
Anzhi Makhac 2 - 1 Liverpool
Suso to score for Liverpool with Jonjo Shelvey getting the assist. I'm backing Eto'o to shine and score both goals for the Russian club.
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