FT: Liverpool 1 Anzhi Makhachkala 0

An accurate assessment from me this time. All over at Anfield and Liverpool have run out 1-0 winners. Hardly a thriller but Liverpool deserved it - Anzhi offered little going forward throughout the 90 minutes.

90+3
Correction. It SHOULD have gone long. It's knocked to Eto'o but he plays a dreadful attempted through-ball and Liverpool clear easily. Surely the last chance for Anzhi gone now.

90+3
Free-kick to Anzhi near halfway. This will go long...

90+2
Assaidi knocks the ball back to Suarez, who goes down claiming what looked to be a certain free-kick. Play continues and Anzhi break but it comes to nothing.

90+1
As we enter three minutes of added time, Carcela-Gonzalez cuts inside onto his left-foot and drills in a cross-shot which is off target and too far ahead of Traore.

90
Sterling wriggles his way into the Anzhi box - courtesy of what looked an obvious handball - but he's eventually turned away from danger.

89
Liverpool cough up possession too easily and Anzhi break. Carcela-Gonzalez thinks he's drawn a foul from Downing down the right but the referee is unimpressed.

88
Liverpool happy to keep the ball from the corner. No need for them to force an opening with the lead they already have.

87
Sterling turns Zhirkov but the former Chelsea man does well to get back at him, albeit at the expense of a corner.

86
Liverpool spring forward through the lively Assaidi. He turns it inside to Gerrard centrally. He takes a touch and fires in a shot which is always flying over the crossbar.

85
It's Anzhi pressing as the clock ticks down - but Gerrard nicks in to take the ball off Shatov's toes and clear.

84
Decent stuff from Anzhi - finally. Eto'o and Shatov both heavily involved in a move which ends with Traore getting a shot away but it's a fraction behind him and he can't divert it goalwards.

83
Sterling uses his body well to shield the ball out on the left and turn inside but his right-footed shot is always flying well wide.

82
Carcela-Gonzalez cuts inside Downing and goes down. He thinks it's a foul so grabs the ball - and is penalised for handball.

81
The corner is headed goalwards by Agger but Vladimir Gabulov gathers pretty comfortably towards his back post. As he holds the ball in on hand looking to clear downfield Agger cheekily heads it out and volleys it home. He's booked as a result.

80
Joe Allen replaces Shelvey in the Liverpool midfield. Not quite happened for Shelvey tonight.

80
Sterling does well to force a corner for Liverpool despite having a couple of Anzhi players in close attendance.

79
Udinese have pulled one back in Switzerland. 2-1 to Young Boys in that one now. Liverpool still top as it stands though.

78
Spate of corners for Anzhi ends with Jones gathering confidently inside his six-yard box and quickly flinging the ball out to Suarez. Poor ball from the Uruguayan, though.

77
That's Boussoufa's last involvement, with Shamil Lakhiyalov coming on.

76
Corner to Anzhi as Boussoufa's shot is turned behind by Skrtel.

75
Assaidi powers into the box and cuts inside. He goes down after appearing to be impeded by Logashov but the referee waves play on again. Suarez then grabs Carlos round the waist and brings him down - and then gets a booking for what appears to be a word or two out of place. Silly.

74
Suarez draws a foul from Boussoufa but then gestures to the referee as if to ironically suggest he was diving given he feels he's been on the wrong end of several decisions tonight. Gets him a ticking-off from the referee.

73
Eto'o looks to slide in Boussoufa but his touch is poor and Liverpool clear. Was trying to set himself for a shot there but couldn't even control the ball.

72
Suarez hits the deck after a tackle from behind from Carlos but the referee waves play on again. Anzhi knock the ball long into Traore but he can't get the ball under control and Jones gathers.

71
Now 2-0 to Young Boys against Udinese in the other game in this group. Turning into a good night for Liverpool - as things stand, they're top of the table.

70
Terrible ball across his own area from Downing forces Agger to rush a clearance. Anzhi manage to fashion a shooting opportunity for Eto'o but his effort is easy for Jones. Liverpool dodged one there - that was a poor ball from Downing.

69
Free-kick comes to nothing as Anzhi still struggle to make a real impact in the final third.

68
Free-kick to Anzhi as Sahin is pulled up for tugging Boussoufa's shirt. Chance to loft one into the box here.

67
Eto'o tracks Sterling all the way back into halfway inside the Anzhi half before winning the ball but then undoes his good work by passing it straight to Wisdom.

66
Having dropped deep again, Eto'o fires in an ambitious shot which deflects away for an Anzhi throw-in.

65
Traore's first real involvement is to force a throw deep in Liverpool territory. His second is to perform a quite obvious foul throw.

64
Here is Traore, with Smolov the man to make way. Looks like he'll be the focal point of the Anzhi attack.

64
Strapping lad on the way for Anzhi here in the next few moments - 6ft 8in Lacina Traore is stripped and ready.

63
The corner comes to nothing, with Liverpool forced all the wayback to Jones.

62
Carcela-Gonzalez cuts inside onto his left foot but his shot is blocked. Liverpool spring forward quickly and Suarez slides it to Shelvey but Zhirkov is across smartly and hacks out for a corner.

61
First Anzhi sub and Agalarov evidently hasn't recovered from that recent knock. Arseni Logashov is the man to replace him.

60
Suarez plays a great lofted, angled ball into Sterling but the youngster has just strayed beyond the last defender.

59
Suarez tries to angle his run into the box but a great tackle from Zhirkov halts him. The ball breaks towards Shelvey but he is also blocked from getting a decent shot away.

58
Looks like Agalarov has taken a sore one but after a slight pause, he's back on his feet and walking freely enough.

57
More good work from Assaidi down the left before he slides it into Shelvey. He takes a touch onto his left side to get a shot away but hits it into the ground and it's easy for Vladimir Gabulov.

56
Agger penalised for catching Smolov in the face with a stray arm in an aerial challenge. Free-kick comes to nothing, though.

55
Suarez smacks a left-footed shot in from around 25 yards out which has some of the Kop faithful off their seats, but it flies just wide of Vladimir Gabulov's right-hand post.

54
Eto'o gets a shot away as he looks for an immediate response but Jones isn't really troubled as he saves.

53
GOAL - DOWNING. Not sure that was the sole intention when switching Downing to left-back at the break but they'll certainly take it! Downing cuts in from the left onto his unfavoured right foot and drills a powerful shot across the goalkeeper and into the corner.

52
Sterling cuts inside off the right and draws a foul from Zhirkov. The youngster has already injected more urgency into the Liverpool play since his arrival.

51
Sharp turn from Eto'o around 35 yards out but there's little movement off him and he has to turn back to keep possession.

50
Better from Liverpool - of sorts. After a towering leap from Sterling, Shelvey clips the ball in from the left to an umarked Gerrard in the area but it's a little too high and the Liverpool skipper can't divert his header on target. Suarez throws his arms out in frustration as he was beyond Gerrard and evidently fancied his chances there.

49
Skrtel powers forward and drills in a shot from 20 yards out which Vladimir Gabulov parries before gathering at the second attempt. Decent effort that.

48
Suarez tries to get inside Zhirkov down the Liverpool right but is blocked out - and the former Chelsea man smacks the ball onto the roof of Anfield, drawing a wry cheer from the crowd.

47
Anzhi on the ball early in the half - and Eto'o coming deep to try and get more involved in the game.

46
Word is Johnson picked up a knock in the first half. They play Everton on Sunday, don't forget.

45
Anzhi get us back under way.

Substitution before play resumes for Liverpool - it's Raheem Sterling on for Johnson, with Downing dropping into the left-back position

More from Sky Bet - they're price boosting Liverpool to win 2-0 to 7/1, Anzhi Makhachkala to win 1-0 to 8/1, while Suarez next goal and Liverpool to win 2-1 is 16/1.

Liverpool remain odds-on for the win with Sky Bet - they're 10/11 shots with Anzhi 9/2 and the draw 6/4.

Christopher Bates writes: "Anzhi are playing some good football but Liverpool won't let them fire at goal. Can see this one staying 0-0."

And that's half-time. Hard to get too excited about events so far to be honest. Liverpool have had the better of the play by some distance but they're yet to really extend Vladimir Gabulov. Anzhi have been a real disappointment for me so far - was expecting much better from them.

45+1
Anzhi work the ball to Smolov and he attempts an ambitious shot from distance but it's always sailing wide of Jones' left-hand post.

45
We'll have one minute of added time...

44
Shatov hacks the ball away from Gerrard's toes and the duo collide. Both come away from the tackle gingerly but are soon moving pretty freely again (by the looks of it anyway). Think it was a collision of hips.

43
Gerrard whips one in but it's smuggled clear by the Anzhi defence. The ball is lofted long once again but Agger can't get enough on it and it drifts behind for a goal-kick.

42
Agalarov the second man into the book - and the second Anzhi defender cautioned - for pulling down Assaidi as he burst between two defenders. Good chance to cross for Gerrard from the free-kick.

41
Crowd quiet as well. Liverpool need to get them going again.

40
Bit of a flat period this for both sides...

39
Agger bursts forward to help out in attack but his left-footed shot from an angle is always drifting high and wide. Vladimir Gabulov looked to have that well covered in any case.

38
Carcela-Gonzalez tries to spin into space in Liverpool territory but it's ultimately one turn too many and it's cleared.

37
Just caught a quick replay of that Johnson incident. He withdrew his foot to shoot and as he brought it back to the ball it looked as though it caught the sliding defender on the knee. Have seen them given but for me it would have been a harsh one.

36
Suarez forces a corner for Liverpool - and responds by wagging his finger at the linesman, official behind the goal and referee presumably still unhappy about that 'penalty' that wasn't given.

35
Lovely one-two between Johnson and Suarez down the inside left springs the full-back into space in the Anzhi box. He goes down before he can get a shot away and there are appeals for a penalty - most vociferously from Suarez - but the referee waves them away. Would like to see that one again...

34
Agalarov makes an excellent run off the ball down the right but Boussoufa delays the pass and when he does finally make it, it's behind the onrushing right-back, who slips over as he attempts to turn.

33
Anzhi force a free-kick in Liverpool territory and Boussoufa whips a lovely ball in but Gerrard climbs highest to flick the ball away from danger at the expense of a throw.

32
Assaidi's free-kick drifts harmlessly into the hands of Vladimir Gabulov. Agger went down under pressure from Samba off the ball, but there's nothing doing.

31
Assaidi turns inside and out before sliding it inside to Gerrard. He in turn knocks it on to Downing, who is fouled by Zhirkov from behind. Free-kick to Liverpool and a chance to curl it into the box from must be 35 yards.

30
Suarez manages to nick the ball back to Shelvey from the byline but he can't get a shot away and Anzhi get it clear.

29
Eto'o runs at the Liverpool defence but is again blocked off just at the edge of the box and the Reds clear.

28
Johnson gets into the Anzhi box down the left and after stumbling manages to get the ball back to Assaidi. He cuts inside and gets a shot away but again Vladimir Gabulov parries before gathering at the second attempt.

27
Better from Smolov as he actually shows the intent to run at the Liverpool defence. Wisdom halts his progress but Smolov's appeals for a free-kick fall on deaf ears.

26
Smolov gets a chance to get a shot away down the inside left channel but appears keener to cut back inside and the chance goes. He goes down under Skrtel's challenge after turning the ball back inside but the referee isn't interested in any penalty appeals, not that the winger was really looking for one.

25
Johnson goes down under pressure from Carcela-Gonzalez and the crowd are up for the free-kick but play continues. Anzhi look to spring on the break but once again it comes to nothing. Not been impressed by the Russians so far. Apart from Samba's virtual one-man defensive effort they've offered very little.

24
Suarez gets away from Carlos down the inside-right channel and slides it across to Shelvey on the edge of the 18-yard box but he skies the ball high into the crowd behind the goal. Suarez throws his arms up in frustration.

23
Gerrard and Suarez again look to link up on the edge of the Anzhi box but the Russians manage to smuggle it away and win a throw-in on halfway. They really haven't got going yet.

22
Gerrard's free-kick smacks into the wall.

20
Samba is the first man into the book as he powers from behind into Suarez getting nowhere near the ball. Clear free-kick and he can have no complaints about the caution that follows.

19
Assaidi gets away from his marker once again and cuts the ball back for Johnson. He gets a shot away but once again Vladimir Gabulov is equal to it and Anzhi clear. Apart from that Eto'o burst, it's pretty much one-way traffic thus far.

18
Eto'o bursts to life, powering forward from around halfway to the edge of the box but Liverpool are around him in numbers and it's Agger who eventually hacks the ball downfield.

17
Assaidi - still looking lively - whips one in from the left but that man Samba doesn't stand on ceremony as he hacks the ball clear and out for another Liverpool throw-in.

16
Suarez knocks the ball past Carlos and spins to the turf acrobatically. No free-kick awarded. Gut feeling was there may have been a bit of contact there - albeit not much - but I'll have to wait for the replay to confirm.

15
First real involvement from Eto'o but the ball bobbles away from him in the Liverpool box. Not happy with the delivery from the right but while it wasn't perfect, for me he should still have got that under control.

14
Interesting little battle developing between Suarez and Samba which could go a long way towards deciding the outcome. As I write that, news arrives of a goal in the other game in the group with Young Boys leading Udinese 1-0.

13
David Alexander writes: "Dirk Mitchell raises an interesting point, I personally would have Carroll back in a flash at Anfield, but I think we have probably burned our bridges with that option, not sure how motivated he would be returning when we showed little loyalty. For me he was just coming good towards the end of last season. Shame."

12
Terrific pass from Johnson down the left finds Assaidi and he in turn slides in Suarez, but he can't get the required power and Vladimir Gabulov saves very comfortably.

11
Suarez squirms away from his marker down the inside left channel inside the Anzhi box but his ball across is much to high and the visitors clear down their left.

10
Smolov back into the fray quickly but certainly wasn't impressed with that challenge from Skrtel.

9
Liverpool sportingly knock the ball out of play as Smolov is writhing around in some pain. Replay shows as Skrtel leapt to head the ball clear, he caught Smolov on the left hip with his studs. Certainly didn't look pretty but impossible to say whether it was intentional or not.

8
More promising Liverpool link play between Suarez and Gerrard this time but the latter's ball catches Shelvey offside. Gut feeling was he should have left that for the overlapping Downing, who I don't think was beyond the last defender when it was played.

7
Ball in is a shade to high for Agger but eventually finds its way to Suarez beyond the back post. He slides it back for Gerrard but his ball out to the right is much too heavy and drifts out for a goal-kick.

6
First corner of the game to Liverpool as - yes, it's him again - Samba turns the ball behind under pressure from Assaidi.

5
Anzhi still offering precious little in the attacking third. Suarez tries to wriggle away from Samba on the edge of the Anzhi box but comes off second best at the expense of a throw. Then when the ball is worked back to the Uruguayan again he tries to get away but Samba slides in to clear.

4
Shatov bursts out of Anzhi's midfield but just overruns the ball and eventually it squirms harmlessly back to Jones in the Liverpool goal.

3
Assaidi looks to get away down the left but Georgi Gabulov intervenes. Anzhi yet to have any real quality possession as Liverpool seek to make an early impression on the game.

2
Wisdom presses down the right into Anzhi territory but has to be content with a throw. He works a crossing opportunity as Shelvey knocks the throw back into his path but again Samba is there to thump out for a throw-in. Decent start from Liverpool.

1
Decent early mover from Liverpool with Shelvey and Suarez combining but Samba is in smartly and hacks the ball out for a throw to the home side down their left-hand side.

Liverpool get us under way kicking away from The Kop.

The teams are taking to the pitch...

Dirk Mitchell writes: "Surely recalling Andy Carroll is a no-brainer option? He can provide an aerial threat and would vastly increase the attacking options that Liverpool currently have. I would love to know what other Liverpool fans think."

Gabriel Sutton writes: "I think a draw for this. Liverpool will have half an eye on the Merseyside derby on Sunday, but they certainly can't afford to lose this if they want to qualify for the knockout stages. Fancy Suarez for a goal as he's the Reds' biggest threat, and Eto'o for the Russians. 1-1"

Our referee tonight is the Dutchman Bas Nijhuis.

Here's the Anzhi team as promised: Vladimir Gabulov, Agalarov, Samba, Joao Carlos, Zhirkov, Shatov, Georgi Gabulov, Boussoufa, Carcela-Gonzalez, Eto'o, Smolov. Subs: Pomazan, Gadzhibekov, Lakhiyalov, Tagirbekov, Logashov, Mukhammad, Traore.

Pretty strong Liverpool team out tonight. It is: Jones, Johnson, Wisdom, Agger, Skrtel, Gerrard, Shelvey, Sahin, Downing, Suarez, Assaidi. Subs: Gulacsi, Carragher, Henderson, Allen, Sterling, Suso, Yesil. I'll bring you the visiting side just as soon as I have it to hand.

Sky Bet report the big-spending visitors (10/3) have been well backed. Despite their Premier League win against Reading on Saturday, punters evidently still feel the Reds are vulnerable and reckon Guus Hiddink's side could follow Udinese and spring an Anfield upset. Luis Suarez (9/2) and Anzhi's Samuel Eto'o (5/1) are both popular in the first scorer book with Eto'o first and a 2-0 win scorecast boost at 70/1 a result the folks at Sky Bet are extremely keen to avoid.

Evening all. Reece Killworth here to steer you through this Europa League clash at Anfield. Emails to reece.killworth@bskyb.com and I'll print as many as I can as and when time allows.

Europa League Fixtures

Thursday, 24 April 2014
20:05
Benfica v Juventus  
Sevilla v Valencia  
Thursday, 01 May 2014
Juventus v Benfica  
Valencia v Sevilla  

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