LIVERPOOL manager Brendan Rodgers hailed his young side despite suffering a Europa League defeat to Guus Hiddink’s Anzhi Makhachkala in Moscow.
Lacina Traore put Anzhi ahead in first-half stoppage time with a smart lob over Brad Jones, having run clear of Liverpool’s defence.
The towering Ivorian striker could have had a hat-trick in the second half, squandering chances to extend their lead, whereas Liverpool failed to seriously test the home keeper.
The defeat dents Liverpool’s hopes of reaching the knockout stages, with all four teams in Group A still in with a chance of progressing and two fixtures remaining.
Rodgers opted to rest eight key first team players with Sunday’s trip to Chelsea in mind, including captain Steven Gerrard, Daniel Agger and in-form striker Luis Suarez, but remained positive.
“It was a terrific team performance against players of top quality on a difficult pitch, but at this level you get punished when you make mistakes,” he said. “It was a much-changed team but we still deserved something out of the game. We just need to be more clinical.”