Anzhi Makhachkala 0
A late report on this game due to the fact that I was unable to watch it until today because they are resurfacing and cabling our road at present (I hope they get it the right order). In making the preparations for it some bright spark (no pun intended) cut through the electricity cable. By the time power was restored it was bed time!
So a good win against surprising placid Anzhi side. For all the talk about their big and heavily paid players and their international manager it proved a reasonably easy evening even though this wasn’t reflected in the score line.
Our line up was a surprise, it was strong. One would have reasonably expected the likes of Suarez and Gerrard to be rested in readiness for the Everton game on Sunday however, the other side of the coin is that after the Udinese defeat, we needed a result to keep alive our hopes in the group. As it is, thanks to Young Boys achieving what we failed to do at home against Udinese, we are now top.
No doubt you will have seen the game by now and it was more of the same, plenty of missed chances with Shelvey, Suarez (who else?) and Gerrard being particularly culpable however if you keep a clean sheet at the other end, which we’ve done on three consecutive occasions at home now, then perhaps the worry is diluted… a bit?
The goal, a cut inside and an angled thump from distance, was notable not only for it’s swashbuckling dynamism but also the scorer, Stuart Downing. Gosh, I never thought I’d use the words “Stuart Downing” and “swashbuckling dynamism” in the dame sentence! As the BBC website said somewhat cruelly “A rare Stuart Downing goal…”
It’s ironic that Downing scored after being moved to left back to accommodate the introduction of Sterling in the second half as it was something he has been consistently unable to achieve in his recognised position further up the field! It been suggested that Downing could be the next victim, young or old, of BR’s “broom of change”. BR has suggesting on more than occasion that Downing has a future at the club, but at left back! It’s an interesting argument, Downing’s efforts out wide last season weren’t the best with only a handful of goals (non in the league) and apparently, although I remain to be convinced, no assists. It might be too early for one so young but someone like Sterling now provides an alternative? A slap in the face and the writing on the wall for Downing? I guess he has to be pragmatic, age and the emergence of a, speedier pretenders, threatens a position which in all honesty he has never made his own. They also have one indisputable advantage over Downing, age ie. less of it!
Moving to left back could prolong Downing’s career the question is how would he get on in that position? BR argues that he has experience, apparently he played left back for a while when he was at Middlesbrough. To me it’s debatable that he is better than say Jose Enrique despite the Spaniards poor run of form. Furthermore would we be even be considering an alternative role for Downing had he not cost so much? It’s on this point that BR appears to slightly contradict himself. He seems willing to off load the £35m younger Andy Carroll yet it happy to rehabilitate the much older £20m Downing. If I had the choice I know which one I’d be trying to usher through the door! However, BR was moved to praise him and certainly seems more willing to accommodate him than Carroll.
“It was a wonderful strike from Stewart. It’s been difficult for him since he has been here. It was just something to help his confidence. The Kop recognise it was a wonderful goal at that end. If you get that applause it means a lot. I hope that will do him well going forward. He has the qualities to play in that position.”
Finally what has become of the game? Anyone remember George Best nodding the ball out of a keepers hands for Northern Ireland and I think Gary Crosby of Nottingham Forest did the same thing. What is wrong with it? If anything you should give Daniel Agger a reward for his alertness and initiative when he did the same thing in this game. Instead what does he get? A yellow card… tsk, tsk, tsk!
Liverpool: Jones, Johnson (Sterling – 46′ ), Agger Booked, Skrtel, Wisdom, Sahin, Gerrard, Downing, Shelvey (Allen – 80′ ), Suarez Booked, Assaidi Substitutes: Gulacsi , Carragher, Henderson, Allen, Sterling, Suso, Yesil
Anzhi Makhachkala: Gabulov, Samba Booked, Carlos, Boussoufa (Lakhiyalov – 77′ ), Agalarov Booked (Logashov – 61′ ), Shatov, Gonzalez, Zhirkov, Gabulov, Eto’o, Smolov (Traore – 64′ ) Substitutes: Pomazan, Gadzhibekov, Tagirbekov, Logashov, Lakhiyalov, Mukhammad, Traore