Having lost the first match at Anfield, Anzhi are desperate to get revenge on their opponents and at the same time edge closer to a place in the knockout stages. Liverpool are leading the race in Group A at the moment, but a defeat in Moscow could see them slip to third place in the overall standings.
Anzhi back on track
Despite having a huge transfer kitty at their disposal, club officials opted against heavy summer recruitment, with Guus Hiddink, Lassana Diarra and Lacina Traore the only notable signings this summer. That proved to be a very good decision as the quality of the squad significantly improved without upsetting the balance in the group, which was the main reason behind Anzhi’s magnificent start to the season. While quickly climbing to the Russian Premier League summit, the club from Makhachkala did well to pick up four points from first two Europa League games, but they were then well below par in the 1-0 defeat to Liverpool. However, with the Reds now coming to Russia and with a much weaker squad than the one that recorded the aforementioned victory, Anzhi can be trusted to get revenge on their more illustrious opponents and record what would be a very important victory.
Lassana Diarra continues to miss out through injury, but captain Odil Akhmedov has returned into action.
Difficult trip for Liverpool
Liverpool could have really done without the Europa League campaign in a moment when the club boast one of the thinnest squads in recent history, but the Reds have done surprisingly well to keep their results respectable despite all the problems. Premier League campaign obviously remains the priority, which is why Brendan Rodgers has been mostly using back-up players in Europa League games, although he did field a very strong side in the 1-0 win over Anzhi. However, with players starting to feel the ill-effects of the hectic schedule and important game against Chelsea due just three days after the long trip to Russia, the talented coach will surely opt to rest his star players in this match. Given that the Reds largely struggle when Luis Suarez is not on the pitch, not to mention all the other players that will be missing, they cannot be expected to match very good Anzhi side in freezing conditions in Moscow.
Pepe Reina and Glen Johnson continue to miss out, while Fabio Borini, Martin Kelly and Lucas Leiva are long-term casualties.
Full strength Anzhi have got to be considered hot favourites to win this game, especially given that Brendan Rodgers is set to field a very weak and inexperienced line-up. For that reason we can expect a defence-minded Liverpool, even if such an approach is highly unlikely to prevent a defeat in Moscow.
Top pick: Home win 1.83 (5/6) @ BetVictor
Alternative pick 1: Anzhi to win to nil 3.25 (9/4) @ Ladbrokes
Alternative pick 2: Under 2.5 goals 1.73 (8/11) at SkyBet