Rubin Kazan 0-1 Liverpool: Ibe strikes in second half to hand Reds victory
Ibe does a knee side to celebrate the games only goal (photo: reuters)

Jordon Ibe scored the only goal for Liverpool against Rubin Kazan on Thursday evening, as the Reds 1-0 in Russia, their first win in this season's Europa League.

After the two teams went in at half-time with the deadlock yet to be broken, Liverpool were keen to get on the scoresheet early on in the second 45. Ibe managed to do this, and the Reds held out for the rest of the game, despite a few nervy moments.

On a cold night in Russia, with temperatures edging above freezing, Jürgen Klopp selected an extremely strong looking team. He'd spoken about how he was certainly going to take the competition seriously, and delivered by starting Christian Benteke, Mamadou Sakho and Roberto Firmino.

One man who could only make the bench was Philippe Coutinho, who had a slight knock following his brace in the weekend's 3-1 victory against Chelsea.

Liverpool dominant from kick-off onwards

It was a tactic that worked well for Klopp's men, as they started the game on the front foot, hitting the crossbar early on. Firmino nutmegged one man, and then slid the ball past another, giving James Milner a chance from inside the six yard box, but he squandered an excellent chance by thundering the ball against the bar.

The Russian side sensed the danger around them, and proceeded to sit back, attempting to frustrate Liverpool before hitting them on the counter attack.

It worked in a sense, with the Merseysiders restricted to shots from range, as Firmino and Benteke both had missed opportunities, aswell as Emre Can

Unfortunately, the counter attacking wasn't so potent, with the underdogs unable to trouble the rarely seen pairing of Dejan Lovren and Mamadou Sakho, who were looking comfortable at the back together.

Despite the long range efforts proving unhelpful, Liverpool did come close to scoring at the end of the half, but were denied by some excellent goalkeeping. Firmino's effort flicked off the ankle of Saba Kverkvelia, and it took a great first save from Sergey Ryzhikov to stop the ball from flying in, before he clawed it away from danger at the second attempt.

Ryzhikov had been instrumental in keeping the scores level after Kazan went down to 10 men two weeks ago, and he was once again the hero as the two teams ended the half at 0-0.

Ibe strikes for 1-0

However, he wasn't feeling quite so heroic seven minutes into the second half, as a neat finish from Jordon Ibe saw Liverpool take the lead. Firmino flicked the ball across to Ibe with his first touch, and the winger drove at the heart of the Kazan defence before slotting the ball into the corner from the edge of the penalty area.

That goal meant that Kazan had to be much more progressive in their play, which left gaps at the back for Liverpool to expose. A second looked on the horizion, especially as James Milner smashed a half volley at goal, only for Ryzhikov to brilliantly tip the ball over.

The next incident followed just a minute later, as the Reds saw a huge penalty appeal turned down. Some fancy footwork from the penalty area had seen Can break into space, only for Guillermo Cotugno to land his studs on the midfielder's calf. Not enough for a penalty according to the referee, who waved play on, despite Can's protests.

Reds see game out despite wobbly moments

As the game creeped into the final stages, Liverpool did get slighly sloppy in defence, giving away too many free-kick's in dangerous places for their liking. The most worrying came from a Lovren foul on the edge of the area, however Ruslan Kambolov could only strike high over the bar.

Simon Mignolet had suffered an extremely quiet night in goal, and it appeared to show as he dropped a seemingly harmless ball into the area, but reacted quickly to claim it before anyone could poach.

That proved to be the last meaningful event of the night, as Liverpool saw out what was an extremely comfortable 1-0 win, which puts them into second place in Group B, two points behind FC Sion.

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