Liverpool managed to scrape an away win from their trip to Belarus, with Stewart Downing’s cracker of a goal ensuring that Liverpool return to Anfield with a one goal advantage and a crucial away goal.
It was a game that looked like it was going FC Gomel’s way, or at least a draw. But Liverpool managed to take their chances and will now reap the benefits of a more open game at Anfield, with Gomel needing a good start. Shots-wise, Gomel had by far the better share of the chances. Alumona brought havoc wherever he went, although his finishing left him wanting at times. Interestingly, Gomel had 18 shots and 6 on target whilst Liverpool had just 7 shots, with 2 finding the target.
Downing managed to cut inside from the right hand flank before launching a near post drive, with FC Gomel keeper Bushma not able to prevent Liverpool from going one-up against the Belarusians. It was that bit of magic that Liverpool had been lacking all season last year, and Liverpool fans will be hoping for more of that from Downing (and not shots like the one he skied just minutes later) this season.
Despite all of this, it must be remembered that FC Gomel are already match fit than Liverpool, with them half-way through their league season and 4 games into their Europa League campaign. With Luis Suarez set to join the team sometime soon, coupled with a few new signings, I sense that this can be a strong season for Liverpool FC.
Fabio Borini did not get much service from his midfielders today, but he came alive as the game was drawing to a close, with him cleverly running onto a through pass. He did well with his first touch and tried to bring the ball away from the keeper, but to no avail, as Bushma did enough to push the ball away from the Italian.
And congratulations to Jamie Carragher, who made his 700th appearance for the club. I’m sure that the clean sheet would have been fitting for this memorably occasion.
Rodgers said after the game, “It will take time until Liverpool start playing the way Swansea did last season (tactically)…. As for today I saw two things which were very important for me, I saw desire and commitment. I am very grateful to my players for a good game.”
Note: Andy Carroll did not make the trip to Belarus, with the club citing a groin strain as the official reason behind the Englishman’s absence.
Published with permission from Two Liverpool Fans.