Rating the Liverpool Players Against Zenit

Peter Brownell@pbnoregard11Contributor IFebruary 21, 2013

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 21:  A dejected Luis Suarez of Liverpool reacts as his team win on the night but exit the competition during the UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg match between Liverpool FC and FC Zenit St Petersburg at Anfield on February 21, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Luis Suárez did just about everything in his power to keep Liverpool alive in Europe on Thursday. 

His two divine free kicks were not enough to overcome Jamie Carragher's costly giveaway.

Liverpool supporters will place all the blame on Carragher.  A lack of offensive creativity may have been the bigger issue.  The Reds were only able to manage one goal from the run of play.  And they only got seven shots on target (16 total attempts).  Remove the brilliance of Suárez, and there was not much dangerous football from Liverpool on Wednesday. 

With an early goal, Zenit comfortably shut down the Liverpool attack with organization and multiple defenders tactically set behind the ball.  The Reds had no answer.

All data here comes directly from Whoscored.


Player Ratings

José Reina (5) - Not much that Reina could have done on Hulk's goal.  Everything falls on Carragher's poor giveaway.  Reina was fine otherwise but wasn't tested too much, either.  He only faced two shots on target.

Glen Johnson (5) - The right-back was solid on the day and takes none of the blame on Hulk's goal.  His four dribbles led Liverpool.  Only offering two crosses (none successful) does not help his grade, though.     

Jamie Carragher (2) - Football is a cruel game.  Despite a decent 89 minutes and 59 seconds from Carragher, he will be judged completely on his error, fairly too.  His mental mistake put Liverpool in a hole too deep to climb out of. 

Daniel Agger (6) - Agger led the Reds in tackles with five.  He also intercepted five passes.  His two off-target shots did not contribute much to the cause but are worth noting.  Overall, he did his job in the back.

José Enrique (6.5) -  One of two architects of Allen's goal, Enrique worked a perfect give-and-go with Jordan Henderson to set up a critical goal for the Reds.  Excellent wing play and beautiful combination work. 

Steven Gerrard (5) - The skipper was his usual ball-hawk self, attempting 58 passes, a nice figure for the Liverpool midfielder.  He'll rue his poor crosses, only completing one of eight.  He'll also be frustrated by only getting one shot on target.  Not enough from one of the most talented distance shooters in recent memory.

Lucas Leiva (6.5) - The plus side was that he was by far Liverpool's most prolific passer, completing 90 percent of his 87 total passes.  His dummy movement on Suárez's first free-kick goal was high-level, intelligent football.  The negative: no shots and only one key pass. 

Joe Allen (7)  - Allen was tidy and accurate in his 60 minutes of play, completing 92 percent of his 38 passes.  And his goal was a nice one, timing his run well to get his head on the end of an excellent cross.  He finished the play, too, not quitting on the goalkeeper's initial save.  The point in the match could not have been better, either, scoring right before half. 

Stewart Downing (4) - Blame service, or credit Zenit defending, but Downing did not do enough to help his team on Thursday.  One shot off target, one key pass and one dribble was all Downing could hang his hat on against the Russians.  Simply not good enough to advance.

Luis Suárez (9) - What else is there to say about Suárez that has not already been said?  He proved how clutch he is with two stunning free kicks (particularly the second one) and was a nuisance all evening long.  He played his heart out, competing vigorously until the final whistle

Jordan Henderson (4) - Three shots and one on target was not an ideal effort here, but he deserves credit for his part in the first Liverpool goal.  Great positioning in the Zenit wall and perfect timing to get out of the way and create space for the shot.  Excellent set-piece from the Reds.  

Oussama Assaidi (4.5) - Provided a bit of width for the Reds upon entering the match in the 60th minute, pumping in three crosses (although none were completed).  Other than that, did not impact too much of the match.

Jonjo Shelvey (5.5) - Even more width from Shelvey offering six total crosses (also none completed).  Not much to speak for in his 30 minutes of work.

Raheem Sterling (N/A) - Not enough time on the pitch to justify a score.   


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