Liverpool - Zenit Preview: Reds looking to overturn two-goal first-leg deficit
Brendan Rodgers’ side will to need to be at their best at Anfield if they are to qualify and overcome a Russian outfit packed full of star players including forward Hulk
By Shane Farrington
Johnson, Agger, Skrtel, Enrique
Gerrard, Lucas, Allen
Sterling, Suarez, Downing
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers will be forced to make at least two changes from the side which beat Swansea City 5-0 on Sunday - with both Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho cup-tied after appearing in Europe earlier in the season for Chelsea and Inter respectively.
Martin Skrtel could come in to face his former club in place of Jamie Carragher, while Joe Allen and Raheem Sterling may well also get an opportunity to impress from the start. Fabio Borini misses out after being ruled out for the rest of the season after dislocating his shoulder against the Swans.
For the visitors, Luciano Spalletti could well name the same starting line-up as that which started the first-leg tie in Russia. This would mean scorer Sergey Semak will again have to settle for a place on the bench.
Axel Witsel is poised to start in midfield alongside Danny and Igor Denisov, while Hulk will again be expected to support Aleksandr Kerzhakov by coming in from his wide position.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Liverpool have lost three games in the Europa League this season - with fellow Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala and Serie A outfit Udinese joining Zenit in beating the Reds.
- Martin Skrtel made 92 appearances and scored three goals for Zenit before moving to Anfield in 2007.
- The Reds have won the Uefa Cup (now the Europa League) three times - back in 1973, 1976 and 2001.
- Aleksandr Korsakov (pictured right), has an impressive scoring record for the club - he has netted 52 times in 94 matches so far.
- Zenit won the Uefa Cup back in 2008 - when they beat Rangers 2-0 in the final at Manchester City’s stadium.
- Current boss Luciano Spalletti has been in control of the club since taking over in December 2009. He has previously managed a host of Italian sides including Sampdoria, Udinese and Roma.
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Top 3 Predictions
Liverpool 3-0 Zenit Saint Petersburg
- 35.39 %
Liverpool 4-0 Zenit Saint Petersburg
- 10.29 %
Liverpool 4-1 Zenit Saint Petersburg
- 10.08 %
|UEFA Europa League (EL)||Feb 21, 2013||Liverpool 3 - Zenit Saint Petersburg 1|
|UEFA Europa League (EL)||Feb 14, 2013||Zenit Saint Petersburg 2 - Liverpool 0|
|Dec 7, 2013||Liverpool 4 - West Ham 1||EPL|
|Dec 4, 2013||Liverpool 5 - Norwich City 1||EPL|
|Dec 1, 2013||Hull 3 - Liverpool 1||EPL|
|Nov 23, 2013||Everton 3 - Liverpool 3||EPL|
|Nov 9, 2013||Liverpool 4 - Fulham 0||EPL|
|Zenit Saint Petersburg|
|Dec 11, 2013||Austria Wien 4 - Zenit Saint Petersburg 1||UCL|
|Dec 6, 2013||Zenit Saint Petersburg 2 - Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast 1||RUS1|
|Dec 1, 2013||Terek 1 - Zenit Saint Petersburg 1||RUS1|
|Nov 26, 2013||Zenit Saint Petersburg 1 - Atletico Madrid 1||UCL|
|Nov 22, 2013||Zenit Saint Petersburg 0 - Rostov 2||RUS1|
The 26-year-old has struggled to replicate his superb Premier League form in the Europa League so far this season - with just two goals from his seven appearances in Europe. With Daniel Sturridge cup-tied and the Reds needing goals to progress, a lot will be expected from the Uruguayan and he will be hoping to grab the goals to fire his side into the last 16.
The Brazil international joined the club for big money from Porto last season and has shown signs of his quality. His powerful shots from distance - including from free kicks make him a real threat, and with Liverpool desperate to keep a clean sheet, the Reds defenders are likely to have to keep him quiet to thwart the Russian side’s hopes of progressing.
The hosts head into the match on the back of a convincing win in the Premier League but are likely to face a much tougher task in the Europa League. The first goal could be important and if the visitors can grab an away goal then that could well be enough to send them through. Liverpool to win on the night but Zenit to progress overall.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed