Liverpool clearly face an uphill task after the 2-0 defeat in the first leg, especially as the Reds will be without Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho. Zenit are clearly the favourites to go through, but the Russian side are aware they could be in for a difficult night of football at Anfield.
Sturridge, Coutinho missing
Club’s summer signings utterly failed to give the Reds a much needed boost this season, with all of Borini, Allen, Sahin and Assaidi struggling big time to make an impact in the first part of the season. Liverpool officials, nonetheless, managed to make things right in January, with Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho already showing they would be a huge asset at Anfield. After the two forwards shone in the 5-0 victory over Swansea at the weekend, Brendan Rodgers will rue the fact that neither of them will be available for the all-important match against Zenit. Even so, with the packed Anfield behind them and with the spirits high after the amazing display against Swansea, the Reds might just be able to produce another excellent showing and take the game to their opponents. It remains to be seen whether that will be enough for Liverpool to qualify for the Last 16 stage.
Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho are both cup-tied, while Fabio Borini and Martin Kelly miss out through injury.
Everybody was wondering just how Zenit were going to look after three months without competitive action, but the Russian giants produced a decent performance in the first leg and ended up recording a 2-0 win courtesy of Hulk and Semak. Luciano Spalletti’s side are now in a great position to qualify, but the most important thing is to score at Anfield and thus make it almost impossible for Liverpool to overturn the two-goal deficit. That shouldn’t prove to be a problem for the team that boast the likes of Kerzhakov, Hulk, Danny and Shirokov. With Liverpool set to go all out attack, Zenit will have plenty of space to exploit and are bound to use it to their advantage. The Russians may have been pretty disappointing on European travels over the last few years, but they did beat Milan at San Siro in their last fixture on the road.
Domenico Criscito returns to the side after recovering from injury, but Aleksandar Lukovic did not make the squad.
Liverpool have no choice but to attack their opponents from the off in an attempt to neutralize the two-goal deficit, which should guarantee us a very open game at Anfield. Zenit boast some world-class players up front and they should play their part in making this a high-scoring match.
Top pick: Over 2.5 goals 1.83 (5/6) @ Ladbrokes
Alternative pick 1: Both teams to score 1.83 (5/6) @ Stan James
Alternative pick 2: Draw 4.00 (3/1) @ Sportingbet
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