As the Reds prepare to take on Anzhi Makhachkala in Moscow, Liverpoolfc.com caught up with Russian football expert Artur Petrosyan, chief football editor of Sportbox.ru, to get the lowdown on our opponents...
Anzhi Makhachkala. They weren't really a household name in England until recently. Tell us about them...
Anzhi were not that well known in Russia, either. They were formed in 1991 and have been a small club until recently. Their biggest success in the league was in 2000 when they finished fourth. The following year, they were runners up in the Russian Cup and got into the UEFA Cup for the first time in history. Anzhi were drawn against Rangers, who were managed by Dick Advocaat then. The Scots refused to go to Makhachkala because of its close proximity to Chechnya, so UEFA decided that only one leg instead of two would be played on a neutral venue. It took place in Warsaw and Rangers won 1-0. In 2002, Anzhi were relegated from the Premier League and returned only in 2010.
Where did they get the name from?
It means 'pearl' in the Kumyk language, which is one of dozens used in the Dagestani region.
What's the story with Anzhi getting so powerful?
They were bought by one of the richest men in Russia, Suleyman Kerimov, in 2011. The Dagestan-born billionaire said he was going to invest over 200 million US dollars in the club and began to do so instantly. That's when they were first called the 'Russian Manchester City'.
Well, since then they've acquired a lot of big-name players. Which ones should Liverpool be most concerned about?
It's obviously Samuel Eto'o and Lacina Traore - they've formed a great attacking partnership. The latter has assisted the former four times this season, which is the most from one player to another in the Russian Premier League. Boussoufa, Juciley and two guys you surely remember - Samba and Zhirkov - should also be mentioned when Brendan Rodgers does his teamtalk before the match.
How did Anzhi think they performed at Anfield?
It was actually their first real test in the club's history, so obviously they felt a sense of pride that they managed to lose by just one goal at such a special place.
How will they approach the game in Moscow?
Well, definitely not as cautiously as they did at Anfield. They'll attack much more and try to put as many balls into the box as they can.
What are Anzhi's strengths and weaknesses?
Anzhi have a plenty of players who can make a difference. As for weaknesses...well, they're second in the league, one of the favourites for the title and not playing any worse despite starting their season in the middle of July. Maybe a weakness is the fact their central defenders - Samba and Joao Carlos - are big and powerful but rather slow. They win around 80 per cent of the ball in aerial duels but only half on the ground.
How is Guus Hiddink doing as manager?
He's doing really good. It's only the first season with all those big names they've got but they already look like a powerful team that knows exactly what to do on the pitch. Solid defending, good on the break and dangerous at set pieces. They have to improve on breaking down opposition defences when they put 10 men behind the ball, though.
What's the deal with the match being played in Moscow instead of Makhachkala?
UEFA don't allow any official matches to be played in Dagestan as it's not the quietest Russian region at the moment, so Anzhi decided to choose one of the best grounds in the country - which is the Lokomotiv - instead.