The fact that Brendan Rodgers decided to play a strong team against Anzhi Makhachkala on Thursday indicated just how much respect he had for the Russian outfit and how he thought the Reds could have a big problem in handling their expensive team. Fortunately, Liverpool fared much better than most people predicted and after managing a 1-0 win, captain Steven Gerrard revealed he was “very pleased” with the outcome.
Even though he has barely kicked a ball during Rodgers’ tenure, winger Stewart Downing proved to be the hero after he scored in the second half to gift the Reds the three points and provide them a huge advantage in Group A of the Europa League. Following the result, the club now sit top of the group – two points ahead of Thursday’s opponents.
After captaining his team to victory, Gerrard could not hide his delight. Speaking to the press he said, “We are very pleased with the three points. The target before the game was to get the win. This is a tough competition and it’s long so you have to use the squad but [manager Brendan Rodgers] picked a team to win and we got a result.”
The win over Anzhi certainly helps supporters forget the dreadful result in the last game in the Europa League. It was only a few weeks ago that the Reds threw away a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 at home to Udinese and unsurprisingly, this brought plenty of pressure on Rodgers.
However, following this latest victory, the club can at least take some much-needed confidence into the local derby clash with Everton on Sunday. Of course, with the Toffees currently sat in 4th place in the division, it really will take an impressive performance to put an end to their recent run and record a victory over David Moyes’ side.