Racist abuse will unite Liverpool players, says Brendan Rodgers
The Reds play Zenit St Petersburg tonight
Wednesday 13 February 2013
The Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers, has insisted any abuse directed at his players by Zenit St Petersburg supporters will galvanise them.
There are fears about trouble at the game in Russia and the Premier League club will brief their players on how to deal with any racist problems. But Rodgers is confident that any attempt to intimidate Liverpool, who have included England international Glen Johnson and teenagers Andre Wisdom and Raheem Sterling in their squad, will backfire.
"Over the last 20-odd years that a lot of work has gone into outside of football to prevent racism," Rodgers said. "I know these are players who want to play and Glen is a very experienced, top international player. It is an issue these young players have experienced in their lives before.
"Obviously they understand and the likes of young Raheem has been through situations like this [in an Under-21 international in Serbia in October]. It is something which will very much unite the players."
Zenit have a long history of racist incidents. They were fined in 2008 after fans threw bananas and made monkey chants during a game with Marseilles and again in 2011 when former Brazil international Roberto Carlos was offered a banana.
However, Rodgers remains hopeful any abuse will be quickly dealt with. He said: "You go into the sporting arena and hopefully everyone from football, Uefa, referees and officials will support any player it may affect."
Latest in Sport
Manchester United transfer news and rumours: David De Gea could leave for FREE; £38m for Marquinhos; £37m bid for Mats Hummels;
Phil Neville and his fellow Match of the Day pundits given warning by the BBC after 'smash them' comment
Gabriel Paulista: Talented Brazilian could grow into world-class defender at Arsenal
Tottenham player ratings: Christian Eriksen? Harry Kane? Who was the star man at Bramall Lane?
Andy Murray vs Tomas Berdych - LIVE! Australian Open semi-final latest as Murray wins after losing first set
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures