Liverpool Lacking Goals

Anzhi celebrate...
Image: Getty Images
Sadly it was the same old story for the Reds as they struggled to turn possession and control of the game into goals and more importantly a win. Anzhi utilised their big man up front Traore and took a lead which lasted the whole game at the stroke of half time, Liverpool just couldn't find a return.

Brendan Rodgers had fielded a weakened side with one eye still on Sunday's tie with Chelsea but the familiar faces of Carragher, Shelvey and Henderson were present. Anzhi had all their big names on with Eto'o captaining the side.

Liverpool began the game well (which I'm sick to death of saying) and appeared to be handling the more active attack of Anzhi. Chances were few and far between but at least to start with the Reds were keeping out Hiddink's sides attempts too.

The first real opportunity for Liverpool fell to the out of favour Jordan Henderson and I must admit it's clear his confidence is very low. He was one on one with a keeper who had gone to ground and committed, most players would have took on the shot and swooped it round but Henderson immediately looked for help which wasn't immediately available and the attack petered out.

This was just after 20 minutes in and turned into probably the best chance of the game for the Reds. It's so frustrating to watch a side who are confident with the ball and also comfortable without it and able to regain possession with ease but yet for some reason just can't score.

Anzhi on the other hand had two real heavyweights up front and Traore made sure he put his side ahead just before half time.

Brad Jones made the forwards decision a lot easier when he chose to run out of his area early on, with an open goal just begging to be taken Traore lobbed Jones and got the home side what would be the winning goal. An elated Lokomotiv Stadium awakened with noise as the Russian's realised they could finish the night top of the group.

The second half saw Liverpool bring on Suso and Pacheco after the hour mark which certainly aided our goalscoring efforts. Conor Coady and Adam Morgan left the field.

Suso was effective, immediately troubling the keeper on a few occasions and creating some problems with a few pin point passes. It was better, but it still wasn't enough.

Both Traore and Eto'o had further chances within the game to put the tie to bed for the home side, most notably when Traore had outrun the defence and was destined to score but messed up his finish, it was a lucky escape for Liverpool who still had bags to do if they were going to stay in this.

The goal never came though and the stats at the end told the story with the Reds having only 3 shots on target to Anzhi's 8, crucially the opposition made sure they converted.

Quite shockingly this is Liverpool's first ever defeat away from home in any Europa League or UEFA Cup group stage tie. The game exposed completely the lack of depth within our squad and again our lack in goals but despite this, the youngsters still performed pretty well and so there are positives to take.

It does however make the final two matches even more important and it looks as though Brendan will have to field a slightly stronger side against both Young Boys and Udinese if he really wants to see his team through to the next stages of the competition.

Next up for Liverpool is Chelsea.