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Liverpool test Anji's home resolve

FC Anji Makhachkala lost to Liverpool FC when the clubs met for the first time on matchday three, but will look to make amends in Moscow in UEFA Europa League Group A.

Anji's Fedor Smolov pursues Liverpool defender Andre Wisdom
Anji's Fedor Smolov pursues Liverpool defender Andre Wisdom ©AFP/Getty Images

FC Anji Makhachkala lost to Liverpool FC last time out, but as the sides reconvene in Moscow in UEFA Europa League Group A, they have yet to concede a European goal in Russia.

• Stewart Downing struck from the edge of the box in the 53rd minute as the Reds won 1-0 at Anfield when the sides met on matchday three.

Previous meetings
• The clubs faced each other for the first time on matchday three, and it was also Anji's debut against an English side.

• Liverpool's eight games against Russian clubs have ended W5 D1 L2 (W2 D1 L1 at Anfield – W2 D0 L1 in Russia). Prior to matchday three, the most recent of those matches was the 2005 UEFA Super Cup, where the Reds beat PFC CSKA Moskva 3-1 in Monaco. Anji's Yuri Zhirkov was on the losing side in that fixture.

• This is Liverpool's third visit to Moscow, where Anji are playing their European home games – they lost 4-2 at FC Spartak Moskva in the 1992/93 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, but on their most recent trip, a Michael Owen hat-trick helped them come from behind to win 3-1 against Spartak in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League group stage.

Match background
• Anji have won their last four European home games without conceding a goal.

• Liverpool have won all three of their UEFA Europa League away matches this season. They have never lost a UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League group stage fixture on the road, recording three draws and a win.

• The 1-0 loss at Anfield was Anji's first away from home in UEFA club competition and only their second reverse in a European game.

• Anji had not lost in Europe since their debut, a 1-0 defeat by Rangers FC in the 2001/02 UEFA Cup first round. They were the nominal home team on that occasion, but the tie was played as a one-legged affair on neutral territory in Warsaw due to security concerns in Chechnya, which neighbours Anji's native Dagestan.

Team facts
• Stewart Downing's goal against Anji on matchday three was Liverpool's 550th in UEFA club competition.

• Liverpool's Jonjo Shelvey is one of the top scorers in the group stage, level on three goals with Hapoel Kiryat Shmona FC's Shimon Abuhazira, SSC Napoli's Eduardo Vargas, KRC Genk's Benjamin De Ceulaer and BSC Young Boys' Raúl Bobadilla. Downing is also the competition's top assist provider, having set up three goals so far.

• Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole turns 31 on the day of the game. He has never played in a UEFA game on his birthday before.

• FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, Liverpool and Olympique Lyonnais are the highest-scoring sides in this season's group stage with eight goals each.

• Anji's Lassana Diarra played alongside Liverpool's Glen Johnson and Joe Cole at Chelsea FC (2005–07). Diarra also played for Arsenal FC and Portsmouth FC, while his Anji team-mates Christopher Samba (Blackburn Rovers FC) and Zhirkov (Chelsea FC) played in England, too.

• Diarra and Liverpool's on-loan Nuri Şahin won the Spanish title together last season at Real Madrid CF.

• Liverpool's Slovakia defender Martin Škrtel played in Russia for FC Zenit St Petersburg (2004–08).

• Brendan Rodgers replaced Kenny Dalglish as Liverpool manager over the summer. He won promotion to the Premier League in 2011 with Swansea City AFC and led the Welsh club to a comfortable mid-table finish. Born in Northern Ireland, he had to end his playing career at 20 due to a knee condition, but made his name as a coach with Watford FC and Reading FC. He is coaching in Europe for the first time this term.

• Anji coach Hiddink achieved little of note as a midfielder, but has racked up six domestic titles and five cups as a coach at various clubs. The Dutchman has also led the Netherlands, South Korea, Australia, Russia and Turkey at international level and won the 1987/88 European Cup with PSV Eindhoven. He took charge at Anji in February.

• Cole was in Hiddink's squad during his time as Chelsea caretaker manager in 2009, though the midfielder was injured for the whole of the Dutchman's tenure.

• Hiddink's Chelsea eliminated Liverpool in the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, winning 3-1 at Anfield and drawing 4-4 in London.