LIVERPOOL V ZENIT : PREVIEW

Friends Of Liverpool

Liverpool face into a tricky encounter with Russian side Zenit St. Petersburg on Thursday in the Europa League knock-out phases.

Zenit’s reputation has been sullied since the publication last December of a manifesto from a group of their fans.

Liverpool face Zenit St. Petersburg this Thursday at 5:00pm UK time.

Liverpool have called upon UEFA and Spanish referee Carlos Velasco Carballo to ensure their squad is protected in the last-32 tie, but Liverpool Manager Brendan Rodgers said any abuse would unify his team.

“I didn’t think of leaving anyone out”

“These are young players that have experienced this in their lives before, so we are going into a sporting arena and everyone from football, UEFA and referees will support any player it may affect.”

“I didn’t think of it too much because they want to play and some are young player progressing. Glen Johnson has a lot of experience. Raheem Sterling has been through similar before, but it will very much unite the group.”

“I’ve never known a set of fans refuse to support black players but I have not spoken directly to the players at the moment. We still have a few meetings and we will make reference to it as we have some players who it could affect. Anything that goes on outside of that will be taken care of.”

Having been drummed out of the League Cup and the FA Cup, this tie is vital for the Reds if they want to progress in Europe this Season football Managed by Luciano Spalletti, Zenith have won the Russian Premier League in 2007, 2010 and 2010.

They have also won the UEFA Cup in 2008 and the Super Cup in the same year.

St. Petersburg are on a Winter-break but Brendan Rodgers has had them watched on a number of occasions and hopefully will pick a very strong team to play the Russian outfit.