This story has been reproduced from today's media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.
AUTHOR: PAUL JOYCE
At the end of a collision of cultures and ideologies, one which pitted East with West and Russian roubles against American dollars, the starkest contrast still came on the pitch.
Anzhi Makhachkala may have served note of their intention to emerge as a European super-power in the future, but Liverpool showed that the old establishment has not yet had its day.
The nouveaux riches were resisted last night as Stewart Downing conjured a bolt from the blue to reward Brendan Rodgers' bold team selection with a victory that not only bolsters their Europa League hopes, but should imbue confidence ahead of Sunday's trip to neighbours Everton.
Downing struck from distance in the 53rd minute with his unfavoured right foot to eke out overdue recognition for Liverpool's improvement and leave Anzhi owner Sulieman Kerimov and coach Guus Hiddink in no doubt that it will take more than £245m to create a new order.
Anzhi, with their flamboyant spending and lavish wages, have become the antithesis of everything Liverpool, under Financial Fair Play fanatic John W Henry, now stand for.
Kerimov, the 118th richest man in the world, was present to see just what his cash has bought him, cutting an unobtrusive figure in a baseball cap and glasses on the front row of the directors' box.
There was just as much scrutiny on Liverpool's team selection given the Merseyside derby looms and especially because Rodgers had blamed a league defeat to Arsenal at the start of last month on his squad's inability to cope with two games in three days.
Given a full-strength side is unlikely to make the energy-sapping trip to Moscow for the return game with Anzhi in a fortnight, more so as it comes ahead of a visit to Chelsea, it appeared Rodgers was gambling on victory here to prolong their adventure.
However, that begged the question why a stronger side did not start the defeat to Udinese in the second round of fixtures.
If Luis Suarez had his way, he would play in every game and the striker was at his mischievous best in the early skirmishes, nut-megging opponents and causing a nuisance of himself.
An early shot resembled a pea-roller which Vladimir Gabulov easily collected, but after bamboozling Joao Carlos he then elected to square to the supporting Jonjo Shelvey, who scooped wastefully over.
In catching the eye, Suarez probably put his name on Anzhi's wish-list and an attacking formation of the Uruguayan and Eto'o would set the pulse racing.
Eto'o may now be 31, but he showed tantalising glimpses of the skills that have seen him collect three Champions League winner's medals in a glittering career.
The lack of goalmouth action will have been more of a concern to Rodgers than Hiddink, back at Anfield for the first time since guiding Chelsea to a 3-1 Champions League success here in 2009.
For all the millions spent, the Dutchman has brought organisation and tactical awareness and Liverpool found breaching their rearguard problematic.
Ousamma Assaidi was lively on the left, giving Kamil Agalarov a difficult evening and teeing up Glen Johnson for a shot which stung the hands of Gabulov. The departure of Johnson at the interval brought with it the introduction of Raheem Sterling and saw Downing shunted backwards.
Liverpool offered more threat with Martin Skrtel venturing forward and forcing Gabulov into a first real save of note and Steven Gerrard cursing himself for heading wide. The ripple of disappointment that greeted the miss had barely died down when Liverpool went ahead. Shelvey picked out Downing. He cut in from the left before unleashing an Exocet drive.
Downing may have been irked by the veiled criticism Rodgers directed at him recently, but that he made his point here through his deeds reflects well on him.
He briefly incurred the wrath of Rodgers when a lazy pass played Skrtel into trouble and was indicative of Liverpool's habit of making life difficult for themselves.
Last night they got away with it. Next stop Goodison Park.