|photo by h.koppdelaney
From a despondent Correspondent Scott:
There were Slings and Arrows aplenty but the Sea of troubles ultimately proved too much. It was not to be.
The last ray of first-season hope for Brendan Rodgers was extinguished at Anfield on Thursday when, despite a thrilling and resounding win to bring the aggregate score level, a pesky Hulking away goal sealed their fate. That the 20th minute concession was the result of a Jamie Carragher under-hit back-pass, in his 150th European appearance for the club, only added to the misery.
Despite being on the wrong side of this one, this fan can admit a thrilling game, even in aggregate defeat. Needing 3 goals to win and then 4 after Zenit St. Petersburg scored first, the persistent Reds fought on bravely and nearly pulled it off. This rollercoaster game can really only truly be appreciated from my real-time notes:
0 Need goals!
3 Zenit pressing very high and Liverpool has to work hard to get out of the back without booting it.
6 Liverpool moving the ball and controlling the game so far, stubbornly working out of the back.
11 Gerrard fires way over from free kick.
15 Through fifteen minutes, all Liverpool but no clear chances.
20 Carragher blows it. Horrible back-pass mistake. Game over. Need 4 goals now. Did it to Swansea. But Zenit is not Swansea.
24 Now just stupid mistakes all over the pitch as Liverpool reel from the blow.
28 After much ado about the spotting of the ball (yielding a Zenit Yellow Card) the Zenit wall fails and Suarez scores through a gap provided by Henderson and Enrique. 8 minutes lost but back where we started!
30 Gerrard goes down and he never dives so thankfully linesman sees it correctly.
32 Reina whiffs the clearance kick outside his area, after an ambitious Lucas back-pass, then recovers.
43 And another goal! This time by Allen. I believe!
45 Half time comes with only 2 goals to go, which is where we would have liked to be from the start.
49 Liverpool on the front foot again.
50 Blatant hand ball in the area by Zenit is waved off by the ref! Looks even worse on the replay. Intentional use of upper arm! Outrage!
59 What a free kick! Unbelievable, curling free-kick goal by Suarez!
60 30 minutes for one more goal!
64 Newly introduced Assaidi is very tricky on the ball. But why the switch when everything was going the right direction with a half hour to play?
65 Liverpool attacking in waves and winning the ball back quickly.
67 Destiny seems on Liverpool's side.
69 Neto pulls Assaidi down by his shirt. Should have been a Yellow Card. Neto is having problems with Suarez and now Assaidi too.
74 A few minutes of pressure by Zenit resulting in Reina having to save down low fast.
78 Game opening up as Liverpool committing forward more and Zenit finding more and more room to counter.
79 Boy, does the handball that wasn’t called loom larger and larger now. Not to mention Carragher's back "pass."
87 Liverpool needs to create something very soon.
88 Another hand ball by Zenit in their box. This time it is a good no-call.
90 Looks like they are going to come up short.
90+ Still patiently playing out of the back instead of quickly booting up field - even as the final minutes tick by. Zenit still pressuring very high.
90+ And they do come up short. Not to be. Heartbreak.
This is farlieonfootie for february 24..