Brendan Rodgers hailed Liverpool's 2-0 Europa League defeat away to Zenit St. Petersburg as a "near-on perfect performance".

The Reds spurned a number of chances before Brazilian striker Hulk lashed in an unstoppable 25-yard drive to give Zenit the lead in the 70th minute before Sergei Semak doubled the advantage two minutes later.

Luis Suárez, in particular, experienced a profligate evening in front of goal however Rodgers, who has earned a reputation for post-defeat positivity this season, was still buoyant.

"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," he told ITV.

brendan rodgers

Rodgers has often been positive in defeat this season

"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."

Rodgers added the next goal in the tie was "vital" and should Liverpool halve Zenit's advantage it would "open up the tie".

The Europa League is Liverpool's final chance of silverware as they stare down the barrel of a sixth trophyless campaign in seven years.

Their defeat in Russia on Thursday night was their 13th of the season and second of the week after West Brom triumphed at Anfield on Monday night by the same scoreline.

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  • FBL-EUR-C3-ZENIT-LIVERPOOL

    FC Zenit St. Petersburg's football player Hulk (L) celebrates after scoring a goal during UEFA Europe League round of 32 football match between FC Zenit St. Petersburg and Liverpool FC in St. Petersburg on February 14, 2013. FC Zenit St. Petersburg won 2-0. AFP PHOTO/KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C3-ZENIT-LIVERPOOL

    FC Zenit St. Petersburg's football players Hulk (L) and Sergei Semak celebrateafter scoring a goal during UEFA Europe League round of 32 football match between FC Zenit St. Petersburg and Liverpool FC in St. Petersburg on February 14, 2013. FC Zenit St. Petersburg won 2-0. AFP PHOTO/KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C3-ZENIT-LIVERPOOL

    FC Zenit St. Petersburg's football players Roman Shirokov (L), Aleksandr Kerzhakov (C) and Sergei Semak celebrate after scoring a goal during UEFA Europe League round of 32 football match between FC Zenit St. Petersburg and Liverpool FC in St. Petersburg on February 14, 2013. FC Zenit St. Petersburg won 2-0. AFP PHOTO/KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C3-ZENIT-LIVERPOOL

    FC Zenit St. Petersburg's football player Hulk (R) celebrates after scoring a goal during UEFA Europe League round of 32 football match between FC Zenit St. Petersburg and Liverpool FC in St. Petersburg on February 14, 2013. FC Zenit St. Petersburg won 2-0. AFP PHOTO/KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C3-ZENIT-LIVERPOOL

    Liverpool FC's head coach Brendan Rodgers reacts during UEFA Europe League round of 32 football match between FC Zenit St. Petersburg and Liverpool FC in St. Petersburg on February 14, 2013. FC Zenit St. Petersburg won 2-0. AFP PHOTO/KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C3-ZENIT-LIVERPOOL

    FC Zenit St. Petersburg's football player Hulk celebrates scoring a goal during UEFA Europe League round of 32 football match between FC Zenit St. Petersburg and Liverpool FC in St. Petersburg on February 14, 2013. FC Zenit St. Petersburg won 2-0. AFP PHOTO/KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C3-ZENIT-LIVERPOOL

    FC Zenit St. Petersburg's football player Nicolas Lombaerts (R) vies with Liverpool FC's player Luis Suarez during their UEFA Europe League round of 32 football match in St. Petersburg on February 14, 2013. FC Zenit St. Petersburg won 2-0. AFP PHOTO/KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C3-ZENIT-LIVERPOOL

    FC Zenit St. Petersburg's football player Hulk (L) vies with Liverpool FC's player Joe Allen during their UEFA Europe League round of 32 football match in St. Petersburg on February 14, 2013. FC Zenit St. Petersburg won 2-0. AFP PHOTO/KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C3-ZENIT-LIVERPOOL

    FC Zenit St. Petersburg's head coach Luciano Spalletti reacts during UEFA Europe League round of 32 football match between FC Zenit St. Petersburg and Liverpool FC in St. Petersburg on February 14, 2013. FC Zenit St. Petersburg won 2-0. AFP PHOTO/KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C3-ZENIT-LIVERPOOL

    FC Zenit St. Petersburg's football player Igor Denisov vies with Liverpool FC's player Jordan Henderson (top) during their UEFA Europe League round of 32 football match in St. Petersburg on February 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C3-ZENIT-LIVERPOOL

    FC Zenit St. Petersburg's football player Hulk (R) vies with Liverpool FC's player Steven Gerrard during their UEFA Europe League round of 32 football match in St. Petersburg on February 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C3-ZENIT-LIVERPOOL

    FC Zenit St. Petersburg's football player Hulk (R) vies with Liverpool FC's player Raheem Sterling during their UEFA Europe League round of 32 football match in St. Petersburg on February 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

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    FC Zenit St. Petersburg's football player Aleksandr Anyukov (R) vies with Liverpool FC's player Jordan Henderson during their UEFA Europe League round of 32 football match in St. Petersburg on February 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Hulk

    Zenit's Hulk reacts during the Europa League, round of 32, first leg match, between Liverpool FC and Zenit St. Petersburg in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Zenit supporters cheer during their Europa League round of 32 first leg soccer match against Liverpool in St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Luis Suarez

    Liverpool's Luis Suarez takes a kick during the Europe League, round of 32, first leg match, between Liverpool FC and Zenit St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Joe Allen, Axel Witsel

    Liverpool's Joe Allen, left, fights for the ball with Zenit's Axel Witsel during the Europe League, round of 32, first leg match, between Liverpool FC and Zenit St. Petersburg in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Luis Suarezr, Luis Neto

    Liverpool's Luis Suarez, right, fights for the ball with Zenit's Luis Neto during the Europe League, round of 32, first leg match, between Liverpool FC and Zenit St. Petersburg in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Brendan Rodgers

    Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers looks on during the Europe League, round of 32, first leg match, between Liverpool FC and Zenit St. Petersburg in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Martin Skrtel

    Liverpool's Martin Skrtel reacts during the Europe League, round of 32, first leg match, between Liverpool FC and Zenit St. Petersburg in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Pepe Reina

    Liverpool's goalkeeper Pepe Reina goes to pick up the ball after failing to stop a goal during the Europa League round of 32 first leg soccer match against Zenit St. Petersburg in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Jordan Henderson, Aleksandr Anyukov

    Liverpool's Jordan Henderson, left, fights for the ball with Zenit's Aleksandr Anyukov during the Europe League, round of 32, first leg match, between Liverpool FC and Zenit St. Petersburg in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Martin Skrtel

    Liverpool's Martin Skrtel fights for the ball during the Europe League, round of 32, first leg match, between Liverpool FC and Zenit St. Petersburg in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Aleksandr Kerzhakov

    Zenit's Aleksandr Kerzhakov reaches for the ball during the Europe League, round of 32, first leg match, between Liverpool FC and Zenit St. Petersburg in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Zenit's players celebrate scoring their second goal against Liverpool during the Europe League, round of 32, first leg match, between Liverpool FC and Zenit St. Petersburg in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Martin Skrtel

    Liverpool's Martin Skrtel reacts after their 0-2 loss to Zenit in the Europe League, round of 32, first leg match, between Liverpool FC and Zenit St. Petersburg in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Martin Skrtel, Aleksandr Kerzhakov

    Liverpool's Martin Skrtel, right, fights for the ball with Zenit's Aleksandr Kerzhakov during their Europa League round of 32 first leg soccer match in St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Sergei Semak, Roman Shirokov, Aleksandr Kerzhakov,

    Zenit's Sergei Semak, right, Aleksandr Kerzhakov, center, and Roman Shirokov celebrate after Semak's goal against Liverpool during their Europa League round of 32 first leg soccer match in St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Hulk , Jose Enrique

    Zenit's Hulk, left, fights for the ball with Liverpool's Jose Enrique during the Europa League round of 32 first leg soccer match in St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Hulk , Jose Enrique

    Zenit's Hulk, left, fights for the ball with Liverpool's Jose Enrique during the Europa League round of 32 first leg soccer match in St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Luis Suarez, Aleksandr Anyukov

    Liverpool's Luis Suarez, right, in action with Zenit's Aleksandr Anyukov during the Europa League, round of 32, first leg match, between Liverpool FC and Zenit St. Petersburg in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Glen Johnson, Tomas Hubochan

    Liverpool's Glen Johnson, left, fights for the ball with Zenit's Tomas Hubochan during the Europa League, round of 32, first leg match, between Liverpool FC and Zenit St. Petersburg in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Luis Suarez, Vyacheslav Malafeev

    Liverpool's Luis Suarez, left, fights for the ball with Zenit's goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev during their Europa League, round of 32, first leg match, between Liverpool FC and Zenit St. Petersburg in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Luis Suarez, Aleksandr Anyukov

    Liverpool's Luis Suarez, left, fights for the ball with Zenit's Aleksandr Anyukov during the Europa League, round of 32, first leg match, between Liverpool FC and Zenit St. Petersburg in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Luis Suarez, Aleksandr Anyukov

    Liverpool's Luis Suarez, right, in action against Zenit's Aleksandr Anyukov during the Europa League, round of 32, first leg match, between Liverpool FC and Zenit St. Petersburg in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)