Match Analysis: Liverpool 2-3 Udinese

Antonio Di Natale
© PA Photos
Sports Mole takes a closer look at Liverpool's 3-2 Europa League defeat to Udinese.

Liverpool ended up on the wrong side of a 3-2 scoreline in tonight's Europa League group match against Udinese.

The Reds dominated the first half, but hit a rocky patch in the second, during which they conceded two goals in as many minutes and failed to recover.

Udinese were clincal when it counted yet saw far less of the ball. So, does that mean it was an unfair result?

Here, Sports Mole offers some analysis on the match.

Match stats:

Liverpool:
Shots: 21
On target: 16
Possession: 71%
Corners: 6
Fouls: 6

Udinese:
Shots: 8
On target: 5
Possession: 29%
Corners: 6
Fouls: 9

Was the result fair?

In truth, any team is unlucky to lose game where they had 71% of the possession. Liverpool were much the better side in the first half and more than deserved to go into the break 1-0 to the good. Things started to go wrong for them early in the second, and through a combination of schoolboy errors and misfortune, they ended up losing a game they should have gotten at least a draw out of.

Liverpool's performance

It was difficult to find fault with Liverpool in the first period. They outclassed Udinese and were the better team all over the pitch. In the second half, it was a combination of sublime finishing from Antonio Di Natale, and capitulation around the 70-minute mark that cost the Reds three points.

Udinese's performance
Udinese were fortunate this evening. It could have easily been more than 1-0 at the break, but to give them credit, they took their chances in the second half. Di Natale was a cut above the rest, striking fear into the heart of the Liverpool defence, and their back line held firm under heavy bombardment in the closing stages.

Sports Mole's man of the match
Antonio Di Natale: This man was the difference between the two sides tonight. Every time he touched the ball he looked like a threat, and his overall performance proved he is the kind of player than can turn a game on its head.

Biggest gaffe
Sebastian Coates's own goal was something of a howler, while Giampiero Pinzi's second-half challenge on Stewart Downing was as good as assault. Referee Stefan Johannesson was far too lenient on that one, which brings us on nicely to our next area of focus...

Referee's performance
Johannesson showed three yellow cards tonight, but he wasn't vigilant enough. He had a good enough view of Pinzi's challenge and made the wrong call. He also missed a bad tackle on Jamie Carragher in the first half.

What next?

Liverpool:
The Reds have a Premier League home clash with Stoke City to contend with on Sunday as Brendan Rodgers's men look to build on their recently-improved Premier League form.

Udinese:
Udinese are also in action on Sunday as they travel to Napoli. Francesco Guidolin are after a much-needed three points to help lift them from the lower reaches of Serie A.

Brendan Rodgers
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Result: Liverpool 2-3 Udinese
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