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
This Europa League match between Liverpool and Zenit Saint Petersburg is going to be a good one, with Liverpool having a lot to do to stay in the tournament after losing to Zenit 2-0 in the first leg. Zenit deserved their win in the first leg, with Hulk terrorizing the Liverpool defense, which will be a worry for Brendan Rodgers and his side. Liverpool will be looking to get their top scorer, Luis Suarez, on the scoreboard, but they will be without new signing Daniel Sturridge because of his involvements with Chelsea in the Champions League group stage. They will also be without their other main forward Fabio Borini due to a shoulder injury, so they might have to play midfielder Raheem Sterling in the forward position. Zenit though are full of attacking options, like their top scorer Alexander Kerzhakov and Hulk, who could give the Liverpool defense a hard time. Whoever wins though, the match and the Anfield atmosphere are sure to be great, so look out for my full time review, right here on Football Every Day!
This Second Round Europa League match between Zenit Saint Petersburg and Liverpool was a great win for Zenit, considering that they had not played a competitive match since mid-December due to the break in the Russian season. Zenit started the game on top and in the first few minutes they should have gone ahead when a Alexander Kerzhakov shot was blocked of the line by Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina, and seconds later a suburb run from Hulk down the right forced a magnificent save by Reina to his left. Liverpool were not without chances though, and soon after the Hulk shot a Glen Johnson pass found Luis Suarez, who beat his maker in the eighteen yard box and rounded goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev, but his far post shot bobbled just wide. Soon after Suarez got another great chance, when he intercepted a pass across the middle by Zenit defender Nicolas Lombaerts, but Suarez went around Malafeev instead of shooting, but his touch was too long and Lombaerts got to the ball first. Suarez wasted the best chance of the half though, and when Raheem Sterling cut it back for him from four yards out, he elected to do with an elaborate back-heel that rolled inches wide, instead of a simple tap in. Zenit were started to push Liverpool into their own half, and almost opened the scoring when a Reina parried a Hulk shot onto the post, and it rolled across the goal-line and out. The second half started the same as the first ended, with Zenit putting pressure on the Liverpool back four, and they got rewarded for that in the seventieth minute when Liverpool got stripped of the ball thirty yards out. Zenit’s Igor Denisov took the ball from Joe Allen, and immediately passed it to Hulk, who was not closed down properly by the Liverpool back line, so he had a go at goal from twenty yards out, and with a slight deflection, it beautifully flew into the top right corner of Reina’s net. Two minutes later Zenit put the game to bed, and when Aleksandr Anyukov hit a low cross in from the left, it sneaked through to substitute Sergei Semak who powered it first time past Reina. The last chance came from a Suarez free kick, but Malafeev easily saved it and the game ended 2-0 Zenit, and Liverpool will have a hard time in the second leg.
Man of the Match: Hulk
This Europa League Second Round Match is set to be a good one, with Liverpool facing wealthy club Zenit St. Petersburg at the Petrovsky Stadium. The rich Zenit have strong players, but they do not always work well together, and since this is their first competitive match since mid-December because of the winter break in the Russian Premier League, they could have a tough time with Liverpool, even though they were on good form coming into the break. Liverpool have been in inconsistent form this season, and worryingly for them, they still have not beaten a side who were in the top ten of the English Premier League at the time they played them. Both teams will be looking to get their top goal scorers, Alexander Kerzhakov and Luis Suarez, on the score sheet, but Liverpool’s new signing Daniel Sturridge could give Liverpool a crucial edge, as he has already scored four goals in his first six appearances for the club. Whether Sturridge scores or not, the match is sure to be exciting, so look out for my full time review of it, right here on Football Every Day!