Di Natale torments Reds
Liverpool suffer another setback at Anfield
Last Updated: October 4, 2012 10:31pm
Antonio Di Natale posed Liverpool plenty of problems as Udinese left Anfield with a 3-2 Europa League success on Thursday.
The Italian visitors to Merseyside were slightly fortunate to leave with maximum points, at the end of a thrilling encounter which swung one way and then the other, but Reds boss Brendan Rodgers was left to pick the bones out of another disappointing result on home soil.
He saw his side take the lead after 23 minutes, with Jonjo Shelvey powering home a header after arriving on cue to meet a pinpoint cross from Stewart Downing.
Liverpool's lead lasted until seconds after the re-start, when Di Natale stroked a crisp first-time finish high into the top corner.
Sebastian Coates then put through his own net on 70 minutes, with the ball glancing off his head as he challenged Maurizio Domizzi.
Udinese's talismanic skipper was then at it again two minutes later, with Di Natale teeing up Giovanni Pasquale to drill a 25-yard rocket past a helpless Jose Reina.
Luis Suarez stepped off the bench to rifle home an unstoppable free-kick 15 minutes from time, offering Liverpool hope, but they were unable to find an equaliser despite producing a rousing finish.
Liverpool made a bright start to the contest, with Oussama Assaidi shooting wide, Shelvey seeing an effort deflect off-target and from the resulting corner, the unmarked Coates sending a header towards goal which Zeljko Brkic just managed to keep out.
Udinese fired a warning at the other end when Reina punched the ball in the direction of Di Natale, who responded with a strike that the Spaniard pushed away.
Reina then pulled off a superb stop to keep the scores level, getting down to turn Medhi Benatia's header from a Di Natale free-kick around the post.
The hosts went back on the attack and after Fabio Borini had dragged a shot across the face of goal having squirmed past a clutch of players, Rodgers' men made the breakthrough.
Shelvey collected the ball in midfield, sent it out wide to Downing, charged into the box and met the return cross with a crashing header past Brkic.
It was a third goal of the season for Shelvey, who had come off the bench to score a brace which secured Liverpool a 5-3 victory in their opening group game against Young Boys.
The Reds looked to have things under control, but Di Natale went close again just before the half-hour mark with an effort that just cleared the bar.
Liverpool pressurised once more but to no avail, with Glen Johnson firing over after Downing's shot was blocked, Jordan Henderson unable to make the most of a header and a Shelvey strike deflecting wide.
Rodgers had spoken in the build-up to the game about the need to keep tabs on Di Natale and less than a minute into the second half the 34-year-old punished the hosts for giving possession away.
Johnson lost the ball and it came to Di Natale, whose one-two with substitute Andrea Lazzari ended with the 34-year-old skipper expertly guiding a shot past Reina.
Rodgers reacted by introducing Steven Gerrard and Suarez, and the latter was unlucky not to restore Liverpool's lead when his acrobatic volley was inadvertently prevented from going in by the legs of his team-mate Shelvey.
Moments later, though, Udinese were in front themselves as Coates nodded a free-kick into his own net with 20 minutes remaining.
Within two minutes the Italian side had scored again to leave Anfield stunned as Di Natale brought down a long ball and rolled it to Pasquale, who drilled in from outside the box.
The goal rush did not let up, with Suarez swiftly pulling one back direct from a free-kick with a delightful curling shot.
A further effort from the Uruguayan was then clawed away by Brkic, who also pushed a low strike by Suarez to safety.Another substitute, Raheem Sterling, also showed plenty of endeavour with a couple of late attempts, but the equaliser would not come and Liverpool find themselves third in the group after this defeat and Anzhi Makhachkala's defeat of Young Boys in Thursday's other Group A contest.
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|7||Shots on Target||3|
|4||Shots off Target||2|
|79.7||1st Half Poss.||20.3|
|71.9||2nd Half Poss.||28.1|
Thu 4th Oct - Group H
Rubin2 - 0Partizan
Neftchi1 - 3Inter
Thu 4th Oct - Group A
A Mak'kala2 - 0Young Boys
Liverpool2 - 3Udinese
Thu 4th Oct - Group I
Hapoel KS3 - 4Lyon
Sp Prague3 - 1Ath Bilbao
Thu 4th Oct - Group J
Panathinaikos1 - 1Tottenham
Lazio1 - 0Maribor
Thu 4th Oct - Group K
Rosenborg0 - 1Leverkusen
Metalist2 - 0Rapid Vienna
Thu 4th Oct - Group L
Helsingborgs2 - 2Twente
Hannover2 - 1Levante
Thu 4th Oct - Group G
Videoton3 - 0Sporting
Basel2 - 2Genk
Thu 4th Oct - Group B
Academica1 - 1Hap Tel-Aviv
A Madrid1 - 0Plzen
Thu 4th Oct - Group C
M'gladbach2 - 4Fenerbahce
Marseille5 - 1AEL
Thu 4th Oct - Group D
Club Brugge2 - 0Maritimo
Newcastle3 - 0Bordeaux
Thu 4th Oct - Group E
Molde2 - 0Stuttgart
S Bucuresti1 - 0FC Cop'hagen
Thu 4th Oct - Group F
PSV3 - 0Napoli
AIK2 - 3Dnipro
Europa League Group A
|3||BSC Young Boys Bern||6||10|
Europa League Group B
|1||FC Viktoria Plzen||6||13|
Europa League Group C
Europa League Group D
Europa League Group E
|1||FC Steaua Bucuresti||6||11|
Europa League Group F
Europa League Group G
|3||Videoton FC Fehervar||6||6|
Europa League Group H
Europa League Group I
|4||Hapoel Kiryat Shmona||6||2|
Europa League Group J
Europa League Group K
Europa League Group L