Liverpool Player Ratings v Zenit

Oleg Nikishin

That was a completely underwhelming sloppy performance on a pitch that could likely be described with the same adjectives. Why are the Europeans so opposed to the artificial pitches when they would have UEFA's premier consolation prize played on a pitch that resembled a field of moss coated in Soul Glo? Surely field turf is better than that.

That said, the pitch isn't the reason. Liverpool were equally as sloppy as the pitch. Enough on that, on to the dismal ratings:

STARTERS:

Reina - 8 - Hands down the best game he has played all year. The Hulk smash was unstoppable and he was hung out to dry on the last. His first save to get down with a quick strong hand set the tone for his performance all evening and it is only because of his fine performance that Liverpool even have a chance of moving on.

Johnson - 6 - He looked better. He made a fantastic long pass to play Suarez in early and then made that run from deep in his own half in the second which was barely saved as he megged the keeper. The only knock against him was he fell asleep on the back post for the second goal. Yeah, that is a pretty big knock.

Skrtel - 5 - Not overly impressed with anything he did and gave away a number of unnecessary fouls as usual. Could have closed Hulk down more, but let's not take anything away from the goal. I would be happy to see Zenit taking their shots from that distance all night.

Carragher - 6 - Made one brilliant defensive play as Hulk barreled in on goal. Overall though the partnership with Skrtel seems a bit shaky. Considering the pressure they were under, the defense was performing well enough for most of the night.

Enrique - 7 - This one might surprise people, but he dominated Hulk all night long. It is pretty hard to out muscle Hulk (the green one or the Brazilian one), but he managed to keep him subdued when it was his responsibility to do so. His possession was better than the West Brom game as well.

Allen - 4 - Just poor. I don't know where the Joe Allen of August went, but I sure hope someone can find him. He made two successive errors early, one leading to a corner, one leading to a good chance from the corner early on. The rest of the game he was just chasing the ball. His failure to control any part of the midfield or take care of the ball left the back four under a lot of pressure. His passing accuracy was a very un-Allen-like 77%.

Gerrard - 6 - Found himself dragged deep early on in an attempt to get a foothold in the midfield. He did play a number of exquisite long balls that you would have thought might produce at least one goal. The bouncy, muddy choppy pitch did do him any favors on those long balls though. Unfortunately, he was unable to really influence the midfield play.

Downing - 5 - A bit of a let down after his WBA performance. He looked very uneasy on the ball, that is if he ever got it. He seemed over all fairly uninvolved in the game. He did play a big part in setting up Suarez for one of his misses when he was playing out wide on the right. He cut in and looked ready to hit it with his left when Suarez took it from him and curled it wide.

Sterling - 4 - He looked like a little kid out there. Easily muscled off the ball all night long, this will definitely be a performance to forget. He did almost have an assist as he calmly took the ball in the box and waited for the bodies to part where he slotted it to Suarez. It was a good play and nearly his only decent touch of the night.

Henderson - 4 - Well...he hustled. It just wasn't there. He did not do well in the role behind Suarez, often failing to play the vital through ball. Conceded possession near the halfway line which was almost instantaneously smashed into the net by Hulk. He really just ran around chasing the ball like a dog all night long.

Suarez - 4 - This is easily the lowest score I have ever given him. While he looked dangerous, his failure to finish all game long has put Liverpool in a huge hole. Johnson played him a great ball early, Suarez drug it wide and gave himself little angle and missed. Was in on the keeper, should have chipped him but drug it wide and on that pitch the ball just ran away from him. Tried to be too cute on Sterling's ball in the box by attempting the behind the leg flick. Didn't work. Failed on the ball he took from Downing. Just an awful night where just one goal would have made a huge difference. Now Liverpool pretty much have to keep a clean sheet at Anfield to have any hope. The real question has to be asked, is this the start of a slump or just a blip?

SUBS:

Lucas - N/A - Did what he could to solidify the midfield, but it was too little too late.

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