MX23RW : Tuesday, September 25 09:41:53

Live Commentary: Liverpool 1-0 Anzhi Makhachkala - as it happened

Live Commentary: Liverpool 1-0 Anzhi Makhachkala - as it happened
© PA Photos
Sports Mole brings you live text commentary from the Europa League clash between Liverpool and Anzhi Makhachkala.

Good evening and welcome to our live coverage of the Europa League group clash between Liverpool and Anzhi Makhachkala.

The Reds were up a tough Russian side this evening, so Brendan Rodgers fielded what was close to his regular XI with starts for Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard.

Anzhi also put out an strong IX that included former Premier League pair Christopher Samba and Yuriy Zhirkov, as well as ex-Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o.

A second-half strike from Stewart Downing gave Liverpool all three points, firing them to the top of Group A following Young Boys' 3-1 victory over Udinese in tonight's other game.

7.15pmGood evening and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of tonight's Europa League clash. Team news incoming...

7.16pmLiverpool: Jones; Wisdom, Agger, Skrtel, Johnson; Shelvey, Gerrard, Sahin, Downing; Assaidi, Suarez

7.18pmSo the big news there is that both Gerrard and Suarez have been handed starts. Brendan Rodgers was expected to rest a few key players with the Merseyside derby drawing near, but they won't be among them!

7.22pmAnzhi: Vladimir Gabulov; Agalarov, Samba, Joao Carlos, Zhirkov; Shatov, Georgi Gabulov, Boussoufa, Carcela-Gonzalez; Eto'o, Smolov

7.23pmThere are a few familiar faces among the Russian side's line-up. Christopher Samba and Yuriy Zhirkov are former Premier Leaguers, while Samuel Eto'o is something of a legend.

7.25pmSome pre-match quotes from both managers coming up...

7.27pmLiverpool assistant manager Colin Pascoe: "Anzhi are a strong unit, a big team as in big players. We are at home and we want to win. Unfortunately we lost to Udinese, even with the subs coming on. We are looking at a lot of factors. We have a lot of games coming up. Anzhi, then Everton, then Swansea, Newcastle, Anzhi again and Chelsea. We are trying to mix it up because everyone can't play every game."

7.32pmGuus Hiddink: "I hope it will be a great game. Anfield has a fantastic atmosphere. I hope this time the stadium will be filled as well. This match is significant for us: it will be broadcast across the whole of Europe, and as far as I know several Asian channels are also going to screen it. Anzhi has gained great success in its short history. It is not easy to play at Anfield, but we are not afraid and will fight."

7.32pmThe odds for tonight are: Liverpool 11/8, Anzhi Makhachkala 9/4, Draw 5/2

7.34pmLiverpool are in for a tough test tonight. Anzhi are sitting pretty at the summit of the Russian league and currently top Group A of the Europa League with a win and a draw so far.

7.37pmThey are without star midfielder Lassana Diarra tonight, but Eto'o is sure to test Liverpool's second choice keeper Brad Jones tonight.

7.38pmTheir first choice shot-stopper Pepe Reina is still recovering from that hamstring injury he picked up while on international duty with Spain. He's a doubt for the Merseyside derby this weekend.

7.43pmRight, it's prediction time. Liverpool are steadily improving under Rodgers after a shaky start to the season, but Anzhi will be out to win this. The Reds also have one eye on this Sunday's Merseyside derby, so I'm going to go with a 1-1 draw.

7.49pmIt hasn't been a great week for British clubs in Europe, so we should all get behind Liverpool tonight. A win for them will only reflect positively on English football.

7.50pmElsewhere tonight, Tottenham have just picked up a point away to Maribor and Newcastle are preparing to take on Club Brugge. You can follow the action from St James' Park here.

7.55pmTen minutes until kickoff. If you've just joined us, you can get up to speed on tonight's team news here.

8.03pmKickoff is just minutes away and 'You'll Never Walk Alone' is ringing out across the stadium. As anyone who has ever visited Anfield will tell you, it's incredibly poignant.

8.05We're under way here at Anfield!

3 minsGood early possession from Liverpool. They're seeing a lot of the ball and stringing plenty of passes together.

5 minsShatov surges towards the Liverpool area, but is closed down. Gerrard comes away with the ball and plays it back into the Anzhi half.

6 minsA good run from Suarez there. The striker got the better of former Blackburn man Chris Samba, but it goes out for a thrown in.

7 minsSamba concedes the first corner of the game, but Liverpool squander it.

9 minsSmolov goes down under Skrtel's challenge. The Russian is on the ground in some discomfort, but there was no malice in there. Liverpool kick the ball out so he can receive treatment.

11 minsSuarez turns his marker and swings in a cross from wide on the left. He puts far too much on it and it ends up in no man's land.

12 minsChance! Liverpool have their first shot on target as Suarez picks up the ball inside the box and lets fly. Unfortunately it was straight into the arms of Vladimir Gabulov.

14 minsUpdate from tonight's other Group A clash: Young Boys are 1-0 up against Udinese. That means Liverpool can move into the top spot with a win tonight if that says the same.

15 minsEto'o picks up the ball in the Liverpool area but his first touch is very poor. He runs the ball out for a Liverpool goal kick.

17 minsSuarez takes a tumble under Joao Carlos's challenge. Slightly theatrical from the Uruguayan as usual. I think referees have come to expect that from him now.

19 minsGood defending from Liverpool to deny Eto'o a chance on goal. They closed him down quickly, with Skrtel getting in the crucial challenge.

21 minsChance! Assaidi makes a great run along the left hand side and plays the ball into the box. It finds Johnson, whose shot is beat clear by Gabulov.

22 minsSamba is booked from a late tackle on Suarez. The striker didn't need to overemphasise that one. A yellow was certainly justified!

24 minsChance! Suarez plays a neat balling into Shelvey after picking up Joao Carlos's stray pass, but Shelvey blasts the ball over. A bad miss from him. He had plenty of time and space there!

28 minsChance! Persistent play from The Reds leads to another chance for Liverpool. Assaidi wins the ball back in the area after Johnson is dispossessed, but his shot fails to trouble Gabulov.

30 minsIt's been a decent first half hour for Liverpool. They seen a lot of the ball and created plenty of chances while keeping the Amzhi attack at bay. All they are lacking is that breakthrough goal.

32 minsAssaidi's 30-yard free kick sails into the arms of Gabulov.

35 minsChance! Johnson bears down on goal but loses his footing at the crucial moment and mis-kicks. He's claiming the defender caught him there and is appealing for a penalty. The ref had a good view of that and doesn't want to know.

37 minsSahin heads a Gerrard corner over the bar.

40 minsAgger strikes from 25 yards. He got a lot of power behind that one, but it was always bending high and wide. I think the frustration might be getting to Liverpool now. They've dominated possession yet can't find a way through.

43 minsAgalarov is shown the yellow card for a late challenge on Assaidi. That was reckless!

45 minsZhirkov and Gerrard collide. It's the Russian who comes off worse. He'll be sore in the morning.

45 minsThere will be one minute of added time.

46 minsSmolov has Anzhi's first shot of any note, but Jones watches it go harmlessly wide. How hard done by would Liverpool feel had that one gone in?

8.51pmHalf-time: Liverpool 0-0 Anzhi Makhachkala

8.53pmSo there you have it, goalless at the break. Liverpool have been the better side, yet lacked that clinical touch. Both sides have been tidy in possession, but it's the Russians who will be more relieved to hear the referee's whistle.

8.56pmIf you've just joined us, Liverpool and Anzhi are goalless at the break. You can read our report on the first 45 minutes here.

9.06pmLiverpool sub: Johnson is replaced by Sterling for the second half. Downing switches to left-back.

45 minsThe second half is under way here at Anfield.

50 minsChance! Stinging strike from Skrtel! He really tests Gabulov with a 20-yard half volley after winning the ball from Eto'o!

51 minsChance! Looks like we're in for a similar second half as Liverpool carve out another chance. Shelvey crosses in from the left, but Gerrard can't quite direct his header towards goal.

53 minsGOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Anzhi Makhachkala (Downing)

53 minsA lovely finish from Downing from just outside the area. He powered forward, cut inside and took it on his unfavoured right foot. Beautifully struck!

55 minsChance! Liverpool keep up the pressure with a Suarez drive that goes inches wide.

57 minsEto'o has a swing but it's blocked. Liverpool hoist the ball down to the other end and create a half-chance for Shelvey, who fails to trouble Gabulov.

62 minsAnzhi substitution: Arseniy Logashov on for Kamil Agalarov, who has taken a knock.

64 minsAnother Anzhi sub: Ivorian giant Lacina Traore replaces Smolov up front.

65 minsTraore dwarfs most basketball players! He must be about 6ft 8.

66 minsGuus Hiddink's side could definitely use a boost up front, and the Ivory Coast international will provide them with a target man to aim for.

70 minsChance! Downing almost went from hero to villain there. His bad backpass almost falls to Eto'o. The Cameroonian forward eventually wins the ball and gets a shot in, but it goes straight into the arms of Jones.

71 minsUpdate from tonight's other Group A clash: Young Boys are 2-0 up against Udinese. As thing stand, Liverpool are heading for the top of the group!

75 minsPenalty appeal! Assaidi wins the ball from Logashov and goes on a great run but is clipped in the box and goes down. There may have been something in that but the referee doesn't want to know. Suarez is booked for dissent in the aftermath.

78 minsThere was clearly a foul in there. The referee made the wrong call!

78 minsAnzhi sub: Lakhiyalov replaces Boussoufa

79 minsUdinese have pulled a goal back in Switzerland and trail Young Boys 2-1 now. Liverpool are still set for the top of Group A.

80 minsLiverpool sub: Joe Allen replaces Shelvey as Liverpool move closer to their regular XI.

81 minsDisallowed goal! Agger heads the ball out of the hands of Gabulov as he goes to take a goal kick and puts it in the net. Cheeky play that results in him being booked! You can only get away with that if you are the late George Best!

81 minsChance! Carcela lets fly, but Skrtel hacks it off the line! Liverpool have started to live dangerously now!

87 minsGerrard strikes from the edge of the D, but he puts it into the stand.

88 minsCarcela-Gonzalez has a half-chance for Anzhi, dragging a shot into the arms of Jones.

90 minsSterling surges into the Anzhi box and eventually loses possession. He had several chances to play it to Suarez there, but was somewhat greedy.

90 minsThree minutes stoppage time to play.

9.55pmFull-time Liverpool 1-0 Anzhi Makhachkala

9.55pmLiverpool pick up a well deserved three points through the unlikely source of Downing's right foot. That result puts them top of Group A following Young Boys victory over Udinese in tonight's other game.

9.57pmYou can read our full report on the match here. here

9.58pmThat's all from me here tonight. Many thanks for reading. Joining us this Sunday for all the action from the Merseyside derby!

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