It is full time here at Anfield, with Zenit Saint Petersburg losing 3-1 to a dominant Liverpool in the second leg of their Europa League tie, but progressing in the competition through away goals because of their 2-0 over Liverpool win first leg.
The game started energetically with both sides testing the opposing goalkeepers, with the best chance being Steven Gerrard free kick that flew over Zenit goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev’s top crossbar in the eleventh minute. Amazingly though, Zenit opened the scoring in the nineteenth minute, when Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher (who was playing in his last European match, after deciding to retire at the end of the season) mishit a back-pass to Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina and Zenit forward Hulk was put through on goal. He coolly slotted it past an oncoming Reina and wheeled away to celebrate as Liverpool’s chances to progress in the competition faded. After the goal Zenit sat back and defended, with Liverpool needing four goals to have any hope of progressing. However, in the twenty-seventh minute Liverpool were given a glimpse of hope through a Luis Suarez free kick. Suarez curled the ball through a hole in the Zenit wall from twenty yards out, and past Malafeev and into the top left corner of the net. Liverpool slowed down a bit after Suarez’s goal, but dramatically grabbed a second goal with two minutes left in the first half when Jose Enrique played a nice one-two with Jordan Henderson to give him space down the right. His cross to the centre of the box got deflected, and fell to Joe Allen who headed the ball straight at Malafeev. Malafeev couldn’t hold on to the ball though, and it fell back to Allen who volleyed it into the open net. After two minutes of added time, the first half ended 2-1 Liverpool.
The second half started the same way the first one ended, with Liverpool dominating and Zenit sitting back, and Liverpool almost doubled their lead in the fifty-first minute when a Daniel Agger header of a corner went just wide of the far post. But just minutes later Liverpool did grab a third goal, off another Suarez free kick. Suarez stepped up to take it from thirty yards out, with their looking to be no way he could score, but his stunning shot found another hole in the Zenit wall and curled into the top right corner past a hapless Malafeev. Liverpool looked like they would defiantly go on and grab the crucial fourth goal, getting chance after chance. Their next big chance had to wait for the seventy-second minute though, and when Malafeev punched away a shot the ball fell to Steven Gerrard, who’s volley bounced of the ground and looked like it would go in, but Malafeev made a brilliant save to tip it wide of the post. With the three minutes of added time almost up, Liverpool got their last chance, a corner, and even goalkeeper Pepe Reina came up for it, but nothing came of it and the match ended 3-1 Liverpool, but Zenit moving on to the Third Round.
Man of the Match: Luis Suarez