The Reds boss admitted the Uruguay international could have had a three before half-time, on one occasion rounding goalkeeper Alexander Kerzhakov but failing to find the net.
His misses, which also included a cheeky backheel from close range he put wide, kept Zenit in the game and with 20 minutes to go Hulk, from 30 yards, and Sergei Semak gave the hosts a significant lead in their last-32 tie.
"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."
- Sports & Recreation
- Sergei Semak