Liverpool will look to keep their season alive in the 2013 Europa League when they welcome Russian giants Zenit St. Petersburg to Anfield this week.
Zenit took a 2-0 win at home in the first leg to give them a huge advantage heading into this one—setting the Reds a huge task if they want to progress.
Brendan Rodgers' side will no doubt be looking for goals in this one—something that the Merseyside club are more than capable of on their day—with their latest match against Swansea testament to that. The Reds netted five goals in the second half alone to run out big winners, and Rodgers will be hoping that a similar attacking dominance is brought into this fixture here.
With goals likely to flow, this is shaping as a fascinating fixture indeed.
Can Liverpool score enough to see them through to the next round of competition? Or will it be the Russian giants who hang on to their earlier advantage?
Read on for a full preview of this match including all the necessary details, live stream and viewing information as well as some last-minute predictions.
Date: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Start time: 3:05 p.m. ET (8:05 p.m. local time)
Venue: Anfield, Liverpool, England
Live Stream and TV Info
According to Live Soccer TV, Fox Soccer Plus and Fox Soccer 2Go will both carry coverage of this match throughout the United States.
In the United Kingdom, coverage can be seen via ITV 1, ITV HD or UTV.
Three facts to consider
0. Liverpool have never been eliminated from the Europa League in the round of 32 before—reaching this stage for their third time. The two times before they won through the round of 32, the teams that beat them went on to win the title (Atletico Madrid in 2010 and SC Braga in 2011).
1. Zenit St. Petersburg have only won once in their past nine away matches against European opposition, with their recent 1-0 win against AC Milan at the San Siro in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League ending that streak.
1. Zenit St. Petersburg have been to Merseyside once before, against Everton in the 2008 UEFA Cup. They would go on to win the tournament that season.
Preview and prediction
Liverpool will no doubt understand the weight that is upon them heading into this fixture with the Reds' future in the competition hinging on their performance.
The Reds need to score twice simply to draw level with Zenit, but also then score two goals on top of that if the Russian club score at all here. And with the likes of Hulk and Danny in their midst, it's hard to count out the away side from challenging the Reds' goalmouth in this one.
Rodgers will no doubt have prepared his team well and given them firm instructions on the need to attack—something that the Reds do very well.
When at their best, the likes of Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard can net some of the most magical goals and create plenty of chances. Whether they can turn it on here though, when the club need it most, is another question all together.
I'd expect to see dominance from Liverpool early in terms of the direct nature of their attack, and they'll likely get an early goal because of it. However, I'd also say that the Russian club too find the back of the net here—making this a seemingly impossible task for the Reds.
Zenit are just too good to count out from scoring here, and if they get on the board, Liverpool's chances at progressing here are virtually over.
I'd say that they give everything in attack (as you'd expect), but ultimately, they will fall agonizingly short of keeping their Europa League chances alive.
Prediction: Liverpool 3, Zenit St. Petersburg 1
(3-3 on aggregate, Zenit St. Petersburg win via away goal goal)
What do you think will happen in this Europa League clash?
Comment below or hit me up on Twitter: Follow @dantalintyre