The Reds conceded twice in three second-half minutes against their Russian opponents, despite enjoying some positive spells during the game.
Rodgers admitted that it will be tough for Liverpool to overhaul the deficit in next week’s return leg at Anfield, but believes that if they perform to a level of which they are capable a place in the next round is still possible:
“If we can be solid defensively as a group, we know we can create the chances to score.” He told Sky Sports.
“The next goal is vital for us, if we get the next goal it opens up the tie.”
The Northern Irishman was also happy with his players’ performances and feels that they were unfortunate not claim at least a draw:
“We’re very disappointed to have lost the game. After that opening spell, when they had too much space, I thought it was a near-on perfect away performance.
“We had chances to score and should have been in front, and we were defensively solid.
“So to concede the two goals in the last 20 minutes, especially the second one, was disappointing.”
Luis Suarez was guilty of missing a number of first-half chances, including a one-on-one with Zenit stopper Vyacheslav Malafeev and a close range effort after a neat pass from Raheem Sterling.
But, Rodgers was not critical of his star man and insisted that he was just a little unlucky:
“Luis Suarez could have had a hat-trick by half-time but it just wasn’t his night but he’s been brilliant for us all season.”
Hulk opened the scoring for the hosts on 70 minutes with a well struck effort, before Sergei Semak doubled their lead shortly after.
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