Liverpool 3-1 Zenit Match Report

22 Feb

Liverpool 3-1 Zenit Match Report

 

A brave comeback from Liverpool just fell short as Liverpool exited the Europa League to Zenit on away goals after drawing 3-3 on aggregate. An early goal from Hulk gave Liverpool a mountain to climb, but they nearly reached the summit after goals from Allen and a double from Luis Suarez put them within touching distance of the next round, but their spirited effort finally ran out of steam as Zenit held on.

 

The Team

 

Brendan Rodgers had to make two changes to his side that beat Swansea on Sunday with Coutinho and Sturridge ineligible to play in the Europa League, so Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson were their replacements. Reina, Johnson, Agger, Carragher, Enrique, Lucas, Gerrard, Downing and Suarez completed the line-up.

 

The Match

 

Anfield had the atmosphere of one of those special European nights as Liverpool set about overturning a 2-0 deficit. Liverpool started the match brightly with Gerrard and Henderson firing in early shots.

 

Liverpool were looking dangerous pressing the visitors back as they looked for an early goal but it was Zenit that produced the early goal when a mis-hit back pass from Carragher allowed Hulk to race through one on one with Reina before producing a clinical finish to leave Liverpool needing to score four goals to win the tie.

 

The setback didn’t seem to affect Liverpool too much as they continued show great energy and passion in their play and they were rewarded in the 28th minute when Agger’s slalomed run from defence was brought to an abrupt end resulting in a free-kick for Liverpool just outside the Zenit penalty box. Suarez fired the opportunity straight through a gap in the Zenit defensive wall and into the net to the delight of the Kop who were given renewed hope.

 

Moments later Gerrard had an effort cleared off the line as Liverpool kept up the pressure on Zenit, and they managed a second goal just before half-time when Joe Allen knocked in from close range after seeing his initial headed effort saved.

 

The half ended with a show of appreciation of the home side’s efforts as the teams left the field. The second half began with a penalty appeal after a handball by Tomas Hubocan. Referee Bjorn Kuipers waved play on and Suarez found the ball at his feet only to fire wide as the crowd continued to protest.

 

Liverpool continued their comeback when a third goal arrived on 59 minutes as Suarez bent home his second free-kick of the night, this time from 30 yards at the Kop end. The miracle seemed to be possible with half an hour to go as the Kop roared on their favourites.

 

Both Oussama Assaidi and Jonjo Shelvey had been preparing to come on when the goal went in and Brendan Rodgers stuck to his plan, replacing Henderson and Allen.

 

The belief inside Anfield was inspirational as the players continued to attack in the search for the important fourth goal. Another free-kick for Liverpool, this time after Assaidi was hauled to the ground. Suarez stepped up for a hat-trick but this time was denied by Vyacheslav Malafeev. Seconds later the goalkeeper made an acrobatic stop to thwart a Gerrard volley.

 

Hulk forced Reina into a rare save but it was Liverpool creating all the chances as Shelvey hit the side netting with an effort before Agger headed wide during a succession of corners, but for all Liverpool’s effort time ran out on the Anfield men as Zenit held out to prevent conceding a fourth. At the end the home supporters gave their team a standing ovation for their tremendous effort.

 

Summary

 

So close to making a miraculous comeback on another great European night at Anfield, but conceding an away goal proved the killer for Liverpool as they failed to find one in Zenit last week. Such a shame for Carragher to make such a costly mistake in what proved to be his final European appearance for Liverpool. But Liverpool showed great spirit and character to mount a fight back after this setback. Suarez showed once again why he is rated as world class with two superb goals. Liverpool showed great energy throughout the 90 minutes by pushing Zenit back as they only just managed to hang on to go through. After Sunday’s great performance against Swansea at the weekend, this was even better and so many positives can be taken from this performance and hopefully Liverpool can go on a positive run now for the remainder of the season.

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “Liverpool 3-1 Zenit Match Report”

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