Zenit 2 Liverpool 0: It wasn’t Luis Suárez’s night, says Brendan Rodgers
Zenit 2 Liverpool 0: Brendan Rodgers admits it wasn't Luis Suárez's night after the striker missed a host of chances in the first half
Brendan Rodgers admitted it wasn’t Luis Suárez’s night after the Liverpool striker missed a host of chances before Zenit St Petersburg scored twice in the final 20 minutes in Russia.
Suárez missed three clear-cut opportunities in the first half of the Europa League last-32 tie before Glen Johnson’s spectacular run just after half-time almost resulted in a goal, with goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev producing a desperate save to deny the England international.
Hulk punished the visitors for being wasteful in the 62nd minute after midfielder Jordan Henderson was dispossessed in midfield, allowing the former Porto striker to fire a thunderous drive past Pepe Reina from 30 yards.
Matters then worsened for the Merseyside outfit when Johnson switched off at the back post and allowed Sergei Semak to nip in and tuck a finish past Reina to give Zenit a two-goal lead ahead of the return leg at Anfield.
“He could have had a hat-trick by half-time,” Rodgers told ITV. “It just wasn’t his night.
“But he’s been brilliant for us all season and his work-rate was great tonight.
“The important thing was after his first miss, he kept on going and trying to get in there.”
Rodgers also admitted he was frustrated to concede two goals from sloppy mistakes by the visitors.
“I’m very disappointed to lose the game,” added Rodgers.
“After their opening five-ten minute spell when they had too much space, it was a nearly perfect away performance.
“We had opportunities to score and played defensively well so to concede the goals in the last 20 minutes, especially the second one, was very disappointing.”