Europa League: Liverpool v Zenit St Petersburg match preview

A look ahead to tonight’s Europa League fixture at Anfield

Liverpool need to overturn a 2-0 deficit from the first leg but they should be confident after brushing aside Swansea City 5-0 on Sunday, a win which lifted them to seventh in the Premier League.

The Reds' next game is not until March 2, when they travel to Wigan, so they are expected to pick a strong side. Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho are both cup-tied after playing in Europe earlier this season for Chelsea and Inter Milan respectively, while Fabio Borini is out injured.

Zenit are currently in their winter break and last week’s first leg was their first game since a 1-1 home draw with Anzhi Makhachkala on December 10. Luciano Spalletti’s side resume their league campaign at Rubin Kazan on March 10. Zenit sit third in the Russian Premier and trail leaders CSKA Moscow by five points.

 

KICK-OFF: Thursday, 8.05pm

 

PAST MEETINGS…

Zenit St Petersburg 2 (Hulk, Semak) Liverpool 0, Europa League, Round of 32, February 2013

 

STATS…

Liverpool signed defender Martin Skrtel from Zenit, where the Slovakian made 74 league appearances and won the 2007 Russian title.

The Reds’ record in 10 games against Russian sides consists of five wins, one draw and four defeats, and they have not conceded in their last three home games against Russian sides.

Liverpool, who have not recovered from a 2-0 away defeat since beating Auxerre 3-0 at home in November 1991, are aiming to win this competition for a fourth time after previous successes in 1973, 1976 and 2001.

Zenit have played six games against English sides and collected four wins and two defeats.

Zenit have been to Liverpool once before, losing 1-0 at Everton in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup group stage.

Zenit have won this competition once before in 2008, when they beat Rangers 2-0 in the final.

 

ODDS…

Liverpool to win: 11/20

Zenit to win: 24/5

Draw: 3/1

 

TV: Live on ITV1 at 8.05pm, highlights on ITV4 at 6pm on Friday.

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