JURGEN Klopp is starting to build some momentum at Liverpool after a third successive victory – the club’s first away from home in Europe for nearly three years.
Jordon Ibe’s first goal for the club on his 30th appearance was enough to decide the encounter against Rubin Kazan, a match the visitors dominated with a calm and controlled performance to which the 1-0 scoreline did not do justice.
After three successive 1-1 draws in the Europa League, their first win in nine European pool games gives them a much healthier outlook for Group B, where they now trail leaders Sion by only a point after their 1-1 stalemate with Bordeaux.
Klopp has now recorded three wins on the bounce in different competitions – the Capital One Cup against Bournemouth and Premier League at Chelsea previously – and will hope they can carry that form into Sunday’s visit of Crystal Palace.
Joe Allen was the goalscorer – against Udinese in December 2012 – the last time Liverpool won on foreign soil and he was the only surviving member of that team to start in Russia.
The 45,000-capacity Rubin Arena, built two years ago ahead of the 2018 World Cup, and is not the easiest place to come to.
James Milner’s rasping shot against the crossbar from Roberto Firmino’s clever pass and Solomon Kverkvelia’s overhead kick clearance to deny Christian Benteke a goalscoring opportunity inside the opening eight minutes was a positive opening. But Ryzhikov was not properly tested until added time, producing a brilliant reaction save from Kverkvelia’s misdirected header from Ibe’s cross and then clawing away the loose ball.
The breakthrough came seven minutes into the second half when Firmino popped off another a pass to allow Ibe to advance 15 yards and clip a shot in off Ryzhikov’s far post.
Milner almost made it two, cutting in from the right forcing the goalkeeper to tip over his fierce effort, while Emre Can drilled a shot straight at Ryzhikov.
Rubin exerted some late pressure in attempt to salvage their proud European record of not having lost a group stage game at home but it was to no avail.