MOSCOW, October 25 (RIA Novosti)
Guus Hiddink left tall striker Lacina Traore on the bench ahead of Anzhi Makhachkala’s Europa League clash with Liverpool at Anfield in a surprise selection move.
Traore, who at 2 meters 3 centimeters is slightly taller than renowned ex-Liverpool striker Peter Crouch, was big-spending Anzhi’s most expensive signing of the summer after a breakout 2011-12 season with FC Kuban saw him named the Russian Premier League’s third-highest scoring player.
Since then, he has scored six goals in nine league games, and three in six Europa League appearances.
The Ivorian’s replacement up front at Anfield is Fyodor Smolov, 22, an loan signing from Dynamo Moscow.
Elsewhere, goalkeeper Vladimir Gabulov’s younger brother Georgy is to start in midfield, as will Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez, as regular starters Lassana Diarra and Jucilei are both injured.
Anzhi enter the game unbeaten in 13 fixtures, 10 of which the Caucasus-based team won.
For Liverpool, coach Brendan Rodgers has picked a noticeably stronger side that in previous Europa League games, changing just three players from Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Reading despite an upcoming Merseyside derby.
Stewart Downing, Oussama Assaidi and Jonjo Shelvey come into the squad, as Joe Allen, Raheem Sterling and Suso make way.
Australian goalkeeper Brad Jones starts in place of the injured Pepe Reina after making his first Premier League start against Reading.
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The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.