The Reds were at the summit of an unforgiving group prior to the late afternoon kickoff but this tie was always liable to test their credentials as front runners.
The task was made all the more challenging considering manager Brendan Rodgers once again decided to keep his first team regulars well away from the affair. Accordingly, he was left to field a largely young and inexperienced side against a team who are only a point behind leaders CSKA Moscow in the Russian Premier League.
Ultimately, Liverpool left—as has so often been the case for the Merseysiders this season—with an ill-deserved loss but their esteem still intact as Rodgers learned further about his squad with several players putting in encouraging performances and others bombing dreadfully.
It’s somewhat implicit that, though this exercise in squad rotation has become a necessity for keeping Liverpool’s stars shining brightly, there is also an element of presentation involved that sees those on the fringes of Rodgers’ revolution polished, primped and placed in the proverbial ‘shop window’ for any potential suitors to scout.
But, on a bitterly cold night in Moscow, who was able to give a good account of themselves and who merely flattered to deceive?