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RODGERS RETAINS HOPE DESPITE DEFEAT

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Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will not give up hope in the Europa League despite his side's 2-0 defeat in tonight's last-32, first-leg clash against Zenit St Petersburg.

Second-half goals from Hulk and Sergei Semak put the Russian side in a commanding position going into next week's return leg at Anfield.

But Rodgers told ITV4: "If we can be solid defensively as a group, we know we can create the chances to score.

"The next goal is vital for us, if we get the next goal it opens up the tie.

"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."

The bulk of those chances fell to Luis Suarez, who failed to convert an early one-on-one chance after Nicolas Lombaerts' error and also backheeled wide from inside the six-yard box.

"He could have had a hat-trick by half-time," Rodgers said.

"It just wasn't his night but he's been brilliant for us all season.

"The important thing is that after his first one-on-one, he kept going and was still in there."

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