Rodgers looks at bright side as Liverpool concede top spot
Brendan Rodgers hailed a “terrific” team performance even as his Liverpool team came away from their Russian adventure as losers and conceded top spot in the group.
A terrific goal from Lacina Traore on the stroke of half-time was a rare moment of quality in the match, and proved decisive as Liverpool failed to really test the home goalkeeper despite carving out chances.
“I feel for the players tonight, I thought they were outstanding,” Rodgers said. “The first half we were tactically terrific for 44 minutes and 50 seconds but then switched off and made a mistake right at the end. The second half was more of the same. The game opened up a wee bit, they had chances as we went for it. But we had chances throughout the game.”
Rodgers named a young team, including the likes of Conor Coady, Adam Morgan and Jon Flanagan, while Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez and others remained on Merseyside.
Guus Hiddink was impressed with the Liverpool performance and happy to take three points that keep them at the top of the group.“They were good players, skilful players who were tactically good. They tested us but we also have some young players so it’s a good result for us.”
For his goal, Traore brilliantly spun Sebastian Coates with a left-footed touch and then lobbed Brad Jones with his right for his fourth goal in six matches.
Joe Cole at least made it out for the second half, which was more than he did last week, and set up Morgan to fire into the side-netting soon after the restart.
Cole’s last contribution before being replaced by Oussama Assaidi was to force a save from Vladimir Gabulov after he had fumbled Suso’s shot.
ANZHI MAKHACHKALA:V Gabulov, Logashov, Samba, Joao Carlos, Tagirbekov, Ahmedov (Carcela-Gonzalez 29, Lakhiyalov 90), Jucilei, Zhirkov, Eto’o, Boussoufa,Traore (Smolov 80). Subs not used: Pomazan, Gadzhibekov, Agalarov, Burmistrov.
LIVERPOOL:Jones, Wisdom, Carragher, Coates, Flanagan, Henderson, Coady (Fernandez Saez 61), Cole (Assaidi 77), Shelvey, Downing, Morgan (Pacheco 61).
Subs not used:Gulacsi, Wilson, Sama, Robinson. Booked: Flanagan, Shelvey.
Referee:D Fernandez Borbalan (Spain).