Stewart Downing strike puts Liverpool on top of Europa group

Europa League Group A Game 3
Thursday 25 October 2012 - 8:05 pm
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Liverpool 1-0 Anzhi Makhachkala

Stewart Downing (at left back) scored a screamer (with his right foot) in front of the Kop to seal victory over moneybags Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala.  Liverpool moved to the top of Group A at the half way stage of the group games.

Stewart Downing scores against Anzhi

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers decided to field a strong team for the clash - raising some eyebrows amongst fans given the upcoming Merseyside derby at the weekend, and Liverpool's need to get more Premier League points on the board.

The decision in terms of the Premier League may remain open to question - but his team selection was justified in a deserved victory over the Russian side.

Stewart Downing had a very poor debut season at Liverpool - and this season has not seen anywhere near as much first team action.  Ironically it was not until the second half when Downing was moved from the right wing to left back that he managed to grab his goal.

In fairness, both Assaidi and Raheem Sterling (on in the second half for Glen Johnson) both look far more exciting and promising attacking players than Downing,  and with Wisdom having another impressive game at right back - Downing could still find himself down the pecking order.

The first half of the game was a slow burner.  The reds all too often guilty of failing to find that killer ball - or poor finishing.  Glen Johnson saw a tame shot saved, Downing couldn't get on the end of a Luis Suarez cross and Jonjo Shelvey ballooned the ball in to the air after a good set-up from Suarez.

At the other end Eto'o was Anzhi's main threat - and at times he did leave the Liverpool defence on a merry dance.

The introduction of Raheem Sterling at half time - moving Downing to left back, coupled with the reds attacking the Kop improved Liverpool's fortunes.

Straight from the kick off Martin Skrtel powered through to hit a half-volley that the keeper could only parry away.

In the 53rd minute Downing powered forward, cut on to his right foot before smashing in a rare goal.

Only minutes later though and Downing almost handed Anzhi with an equaliser when he elected to pass the ball right across our own penalty area.  Fortunately Liverpool survived that poor choice of pass.

Daniel Agger had a goal ruled out after heading the ball out of the keepers hands before kicking the ball in to the empty net, and Raheem Sterling went on a mazy run goalbound - only to take one touch too many.

Steven Gerrard also had an opportunity earlier in the game - but his header was off target - when he had broken free and only had the keeper to beat.

Results in the other game mean the reds go top of the group on 6 points.  The reds face Anzhi, away, in a fortnight.

One comment on
Stewart Downing strike puts Liverpool on top of Europa group

  1. A very good second half. Vital we got three points at home against these – return game in a fortnight could be our trickiest remaining game in the group. Gerrard and Suarez looked poor and laboured – compare that to the youthful Assaidi, Wisdom and Sterling!

    Plenty to be positive about our future players – however some of our big earners are simply not pulling their weight.

    Now – onto the Blues!

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