LIVERPOOL’S third Europa League Group B game is a first look at Rubin Kazan — and Klopp’s first look at The Kop, or at least one that is singing to his tune.
In fact, he will have a whole stadium of Liverpool fans to eye up and down, if he so desires. Not just because it’s his first home game, either. But also because Rubin Kazan aren’t bringing any fans. None. Zilch. That’s 46 less than the 46 they took to Chelsea a few years ago. They’ve had a look and collectively swerved it.
Which is a bit of a shame, really, truth be told. As Liverpool is lovely in October. Here are some of the things they could have got up to before the game:
1) Had a snoop round St George’s Hall, where they are currently filming the new Harry Potter film, and tried to spot some famous wizards.
2) Gone to see “We Are Aliens” at the World Museum planetarium.
3) Drank vodka in all four Revolution bars in Liverpool City Centre
But never mind. Some people who ARE coming to the match are the Liverpool owners. John Henry, Tom Werner and Mike Gordon are all in town and will try to resist the considerable temptation of Paddy McGuinness at The Empire to watch the Reds, and their new manager, in the flesh at Anfield.
Let’s hope Linda is tweeting about a clean sheet after the game.
On the pitch, Kazan don’t look too much to worry about. But then I said the same about FC Sion, and look what happened there.
They are currently 12th out of 16 in the SOGAZ Russian Football Championship. One place behind Amkar Perm, which sounds like a barbers on Smithdown Road, and two places ahead of Anzhi Makhachkala. Remember them? They brought fans and everything.
Rubin have actually lost more games than any other time in the league, although they did beat FC Ufa at the weekend. But FC Ufa are bottom. And called FC Ufa.
In terms of their squad the name that jumps out is Diniyar Bilyaletdinov. Everton paid nearly £10m for “Billy, lad” as he was known at Goodison Park. Everton are funny. Billy, lad struggles to get in the team since they sacked his dad as manager earlier in the season.
Elsewhere, the star names have drifted away from Kazan since their owners, the Republic of Tatarstan, decided they were probably better off spending money on roads or schools or something.
Those who have remained have largely done so because they’ve got nowhere else to go. Carlos Eduardo played with Lucas at Gremio and was that good Rubin Kazan paid £20m for him from Hoffenheim. They seem very good at getting a lot of money for flash Brazilians. Then he got injured forever, and is currently trying to play left wing without any knees. Don’t even think about it Firmino, lad.
They’ve also got Gökdeniz Karadeniz, who is 35 and just makes me think of Antonio Di Natale wandering round Anfield being brilliant.
Finally, a shout out for their right back Oleg Kuzmin who is having a bit of a purple patch at the end of his career, and is going to kick Alberto Moreno 14 feet in the air.
So there we go. After 1-1 draws with Bordeaux and FC Sion, we could do with a win People who have seen them more than me, which is at all, say they are going to park the bus and hope for the best. So let’s scream and shout, and let it all out for Klopp’s Reds tomorrow.
And then batter them.
PREVIOUS MEETINGS: None
MATCH DETAILS: Kick-off 8.05pm, live on BT Sport 2. Main Stand and Anfield Road lower tickets are on general sale at the window. Members can purchase online. More information here.
ODDS: Liverpool 1/2, Draw 16/5, Rubin Kazan 15/2.
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda-Photo