A SECOND-HALF GOAL from Stewart Downing ensured Liverpool avoided an unwanted record as they edged Russia’s Anzhi Makhachkala 1-0 at Anfield to bolster their Europa League hopes.
Downing’s well taken 53rd-minute strike means Liverpool avoided two straight European home losses for the first time in their history after their recent hiccup against Italy’s Udinese and they now lead Group A with six points from three matches.
Liverppol captain Steven Gerrard told the BBC, “We are very pleased with the three points. The target before the game was to get the win.” He added:
We knew we had to win the game. The manager said we are trying to win every competition we are in. This is a tough competition and it’s long so you have to use the squad but he picked a team to win and we got a result.”
Better still for the Merseysiders, who now lead the Russians and the Italians by two points, Udinese went down to a shock 3-1 loss at unheralded Swiss side Young Boys, throwing away a chance to go top of the section.
Anzhi came to Liverpool boasting former Barcelona and Inter Milan Champions League winner and Cameroon international star Samuel Eto’o in their ranks but he had a quiet night.
Also flying the flag for England are Newcastle, who thanked a goal from French winger Gabriel Obertan just after the restart for a second straight home win which keeps the Magpies in charge of Group D.
Alan Pardew’s men now lead Bordeaux, already dismissed emphatically at Saint James’ Park, by three points after the Girondins – Obertan’s former club – could only draw at Portugal’s Maritimo.