Zenit vs. Liverpool: 5 Players for the Reds to Watch for in Europa League

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterFebruary 7, 2013

Zenit vs. Liverpool: 5 Players for the Reds to Watch for in Europa League

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    Liverpool travel to St. Petersburg on February 14 to face Russian powerhouse Zenit.

    Luciano Spalletti's charges have dropped into the UEFA Europa League for the knockout rounds and possess several high-quality players.

    Here are the five players Brendan Rodgers needs to be most wary of, and also the five you should look out for as a viewer. 


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    Why wouldn't you watch Hulk?

    This guy is pure entertainment. If he's not ripping off a thunderbolt from 30 yards, he's probably going down like he's been hit by a sniper.

    When he's in the mood, he's impossible to stop, but when he's off the pace, he's easy to wind up and shut out of the game.

    Either way, it's worthy viewing.

Nicolas Lombaerts

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    Nicolas Lombaerts is a man with much to prove.

    Belgium have an incredible amount of depth at centre-back and he's trying to force his way up a pecking order that contains Vincent Kompany, Thomas Vermaelen and Toby Alderweireld et al.

    He's never performed on the biggest stage and can be prone to errors. Playing against Liverpool puts you on a pedestal, and this man will be desperate not to disappoint. 


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    If anyone has the ingenuity in this Zenit St. Petersburg side to unlock a stubborn European defence, it's Danny.

    The Portuguese forward, who plays on either wing or behind the striker, has always promised a little more than he's produced. However, under no circumstances should he be scoffed at.

    He's loved in this side and it shows in his output.

Axel Witsel

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    Axel Witsel—Zenit St. Petersburg's other huge summer signing—is the most influential midfielder the Russian club has.

    Roman Shirokov is the Frank Lampard-esque goal threat, but this Belgian has found form much more quickly than Hulk managed to and has quickly become a key player.

    Liverpool's attacking midfielder should have a tough time giving this guy the run-around. 

Aleksandr Anyukov

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    Liverpool have an impressive set of dynamic, roaming full-backs, but the Zenitchiki can match them in that department.

    Specifically, Aleksandr Anyukov from right-back is an elite threat coming forward and overlaps well with whomever Luciano Spalletti places in front of him.

    If there's one player for Zenit who has consistent 7/10 games, it's Anyukov.