On a night when Brendan Rodgers decided to bring out the likes of Luis Suarez, Glen Johnson and Steven Gerrard, it was Stewart Downing that stole the limelight with an absolute belter of a shot from his right foot.
It appears that the Europa League is indeed really high on Brendan Rodgers’ priorities. But should this really have happened? I personally don’t think Suarez and Gerrard should be having three games a week. They are just too important to the team to risk it. Is the Europa League really worth it? It should be just a chance for second stringers to show what they’ve got.
This is especially strange considering we are languishing in the bottom half of the Premier League table, with a Merseyside derby coming up this weekend. But I guess at least it paid off (at least on the Europa League front).
This game was all about the men on the flanks. The main penetration came from the trio of Stewart Downing, Glen Johnson and Oussama Assaidi, who were making a menace of themselves in the first half.
But Downing was moved to emergency left-back for the second half due to Glen Johnson being subbed out for the mercurial Raheem Sterling. That did little to nullify the Englishman, as he launched a spectacular right footed shot into the far corner. Typically Downing-esque type of goal which saw him drive the shot into the far top right corner (although it often goes over the bar).
Brad Jones was stand-in keeper for Pepe Reina again, and he did his first team credentials no harm as he stood firm on the 70th minute mark for Anzhi’s best opportunity Consecutive clean sheets for the Australian, and this must really offer Brendan Rodgers some food for thought ahead of the Merseyside derby because:
a) It’s not worth risking Reina if he has a hamstring injury, and
b) Overall, Brad Jones has looked the more solid keeper. We should reward performance rather than reputation (as seen with Carragher), and I reckon Jones is the man worthy of starting the Merseyside derby on Sunday.
Although there’s a big game coming up this weekend, you can see why Rodgers has done what he did. He preserved the top spot of the Europa League group in a home game where his first stringers didn’t have to take the long and difficult trip to Russia. It would be better to play them now rather than take them away to Eastern Europe.
Published with permission from Two Liverpool Fans | Two Liverpool Fans.