Liverpool V Anzhi Makhachkala: Match Preview
The Reds welcome Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala to Anfield on Thursday night as they look to progress out the Europa League group stage.
Deputy goalkeeper Brad Jones will fill the void left by Jose Reina after he was ruled out of the clash with a hamstring injury, although that is the only fresh injury concern for Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers. Long term absentees Lucas Leiva, Martin Kelly and Fabio Borini are all still out.
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 believes Liverpool will be regarded as favourites to win the group which will put pressure on The Reds boss Rodgers as his team look to bounce back after their defeat to Udinese last time out in the competition.
Liverpool come in to the match in relatively good form. Winning three of their last five matches, drawing one and losing one. The Reds also got their first home win at Anfield at the weekend against Premier League rivals Reading, with debut goal for starlet Raheem Sterling.
Last Five Results
Liverpool 1 – 0 Reading
Liverpool 0 – 0 Stoke
Liverpool 2 – 3 Udinese
Norwich City 2 – 5 Liverpool
West Brom 1 – 2 Liverpool
Guus Hiddink's side however are in sparkling form with five wins from five. Scoring nine goals and only conceding two. Am impressive record in anyone's books. The team currently sit top of the Russian League with 29 points with only one loss this season.
Last Five Results
Anzhi Makhac 2 – 1 Spartak Moscow
Dinamo Moscow 0 – 2 Anzhi Makhac
Anzhi Makhac 2 – 1 Volga Nizhny
Alania Vlad 0 – 1 Anzhi Makhac
Anzhi Makhac 5 – 2 Krasnodar
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. Steven Gerrard on top form is one of those players but I am going to have to go with Luis Suarez, disregard all the controversy that surrounds his and he is a wonderful player to watch with excellent ability and an eye for goal from range. He has looked impressive this season already with seven goals and three assists in 11 matches.
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 26 goals in 40 games for Anzhi, along with eight assists and has already scored 13 goals in 17 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 at Anfield with the likes of Eto'o, Gerrard and Suarez. Along with Liverpool's young talent trying to make a name for themselves, in particular Raheem Sterling who has caught the eye since he has been given a run of games by Brendan Rodgers.
Liverpool 2 – 2 Anzhi Makhachkala
Suarez and Sterling to score for Liverpool with Gerrard getting both assists. I'm backing Eto'o to shine at Anfield and score both goals for the Russian club.
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