Liverpool: Rodgers Rues Defensive Mistake
A valiant effort out in Russia by a largely inexperienced and untested Reds side is undone by a defensive slip, much to the manager's annoyance...
A make shift Liverpool line-up acquitted themselves admirably in the freezing surrounds of Moscow yesterday evening and could easily have got something from a tight Europa League encounter with Anzhi Makhachkala.
Ultimately however a lapse in concentration at the back involving Sebastian Coates allowed giant Ivorian striker Lacina Traore to lob Brad Jones on the stroke of half time for the only goal of the game.
Speaking at his post-match press conference, Reds manager Brendan Rodgers revealed his frustration saying: "We are disappointed with the result.
"I thought the players gave everything in the game. Tactically our concentration was very good, we controlled the game for 44 minutes and 50 seconds of the first half but then we made a bad mistake and got punished. That's the level.
"It was more of the same in the second half and we had chances. There was real disappointment in the dressing room and I felt for the players tonight."
With ten regular first team players remaining in the UK it was left to the likes of youngsters Jon Flanagan, Conor Coady and Adam Morgan to supplement a host of rarely used squad players.
Asked if the decision to leave out key men such as Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez was the reason for defeat, Rodgers responded: "No, not at all. I think that's disrespectful to the players who are here. They have been magnificent and done really, really well tonight.
"We just got punished for a mistake in concentration and that led to us losing the game. It wasn't anything to do with Suarez, Gerrard, Allen, Agger or Skrtel not being here. The players that played did fantastically well. It was just one of those things, but we'll take it as a team. We're disappointed but there are positives from tonight...
"Across the team, there were excellent performances. We're just very disappointed to have made the mistake that eventually led to us losing the game."
One of those excellent performances was put in by the much maligned Joe Cole.
The former England international midfielder bounced back from being substituted at half time during the League Cup defeat to Swansea City last week to put in an energetic and intelligent display.
Rodgers, who had been critical of the player recently, this time had words of encouragement following the final whistle.
"Joe did very well tonight. His movement was good and it looked more like what Joe can produce in terms of the final third," analysed the birthday boy's former coach at Chelsea.
Defeat sees Anzhi overtake Liverpool at the top of Group A. The Reds remain on six points, one behind the Russians, with two games still to play. The other match in this section ended in a surprise 3-2 away victory for Young Boys over fancied Italians Udinese.
The results mean all four sides can still qualify with Rodgers' side facing a home match against Young Boys and then a decisive looking trip to Italy to face Udinese in their final game.
"It's a very tight group. It was always going to go down to the last game. The next one is now a big game for us now against Young Boys," added the 39-year-old Kop boss.
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