RUBIN KAZAN 0-1 LIVERPOOL
KLOPP is victorious, again! The new manager brings us our third consecutive win and our first victory in this season’s Europa League, keeping Liverpool at 2nd place in our group and looking likely to qualify for the knockout round. Klopp’s now still undefeated AND has gotten wins against Bournemouth, Chelsea and Rubin Kazan.
There had been worries earlier in the season over the fact that once Klopp had arrived, he’d “only” gotten some draws. I was happy with simply not losing any games but our own fans who wanted victory from Klopp and nothing less weren’t as happy. The drawing lasted for long enough to get some Reds fans asking “is he going to win for us?” and clearly, we know by now he can. He’s proven himself to be a winner already and still has not lost a single game. We’ll see how long the “undefeated” streak can last and I’m hoping it won’t be ending any time soon.
The lineup for this fixture was considered to be the strongest possible one, with many players on the injury list this season as we know.
Christian Benteke has finally returned to being part of a starting 11, previously being only part of our squad as substitute in games we saw him play recently. The manager has eased him back into the side and he is now back at 100% fitness, ready to be starting every game once again for Liverpool. With defenders such as Kolo Toure and Joe Gomez out injured, we’d see Lovren placed in the starting 11 and also see youngster Cameron Brannagan named once again in the squad, though he would not play at all. I’m sure it’s still a dream come true for the 19 year old just to see his name on the team sheet for Liverpool. As long as the manager is thinking of him enough to put him in the squad at all, he’ll have a chance to prove himself on the pitch eventually.
The first half started rather well for Liverpool with attacks (yes, more than one) from James Milner as he hit the crossbar and also shot just over the bar within ten minutes played. Liverpool’s efforts continued after that, with Benteke making a fine shot on target after an assist by Roberto Firmino in the 11th minute. Firmino himself would strike a shot at goal by the 18th minute and continue to help his teammates throughout the game, until the 80th minute when he was replaced by Lucas Leiva.
Nathaniel Clyne would be less defender and more attacker in this game, as he also attempted (and succeeded at) running far down the right wing for Liverpool as the Russians were pushed way back into their penalty area by our brave youngster who looked determined to help us get a win in the Europa League.
Though Liverpool dominated the first half, the score as the referee blew his whistle for half time was actually only
Rubin Kazan 0-0 Liverpool. Reds fans may have been surprised and understandingly frustrated at this, with so many attacking attempts having been made inside of the first 45 minutes but to have no goals to show for it at the break.
Liverpool didn’t take long in the second half to grab a goal, after only 7 minutes play in this half we finally took the lead and would keep it until the final whistle. Simon Mignolet would manage to keep a clean sheet, making history as he did so because every other time Liverpool have travelled to Russia for European competition, we’ve always conceded goals before.
The goal came from a breaking attack that saw Firmino make a direct pass up to Jordon Ibe. Ibe would collect the ball and run from around 40 yards out, run past two defenders and arrive at the edge of the penalty area before striking a well placed shot that would hit the inside of the left post and go into the net. Rubin Kazan 0-1 Liverpool.
Ibe wasn’t just the goalscorer in this match, he was the player most in control and looked like a real leader. Sure, James Milner was the official Liverpool Captain but Ibe was consistently present in our attacking force for the entire game. At times, Ibe would remind me of a young Steven Gerrard, who won this competition in 2001 before we began to know him as “Captain Fantastic” (Gerrard wasn’t chosen as Liverpool captain until around 2003). Basically, an unpredictable and very dangerous young midfielder with huge talent and great potential to become a Kop Legend. Ibe is relatively unproven, but certainly going in the right direction for achieving great things at Liverpool. Just as Gerrard did from 2001 onwards.
As Liverpool continue in this competition, they’ll have to play Sion and Bordeaux one more time each, with Sion only two points ahead of us in the group table. A continuation of our winning streak (more wins in the Europa League at least) would see us head to the top of the table and qualify for the knockout rounds.
Bordeaux have not managed to win in this group yet and if they continue to lose or draw all their games, they will not reach 2nd place even to qualify for the next round of the Europa League. Rubin Kazan have lost the most games in the group and like Liverpool, also still have to play both Sion and Bordeaux in their remaining fixtures. Liverpool don’t need to keep winning now, we can afford to draw our next Europa League fixtures, with the two points being able to still keep us in 2nd place for qualification but we definitely do not want to lose our remaining games in the competition as Bordeaux could steal 2nd place from us if that happens. As we play them next (November 26th), it can be instant qualification if we win, though. They can’t afford to lose as they’ll be resigned to 3rd place or worse in the group if they are defeated by Liverpool.
Before the next Europa League fixture though, Liverpool will have a couple of Premier League games to deal with. I already have a ticket to the Crystal Palace game and will be attending and watching the game in the Centenary Stand at Anfield on Sunday. It’s always an unpredictable match, with Palace being able to pull “comebacks” even when they’ve been looking like losing in previous games with Liverpool. I have to say though, Klopp has been inspiring hope and strength into both fans and players alike and we just feel that we are unstoppable at the moment. It’s an exciting time for the club as we continue our season with anticipation that we haven’t felt in a long time (probably since almost winning the league in 2013-2014).
Walk on, Anfield Family. Walk on with hope in your heart and You’ll Never Walk Alone.
[written by] Stuart Drewery.
I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so I was born into being a red.
I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (about 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s.