Is Anfield set for another famous European glory night?
Three-time UEFA Cup winners Liverpool will need to overturn a two-goal deficit against 2008 UEFA Cup winners Zenit St. Petersburg to prevent a premature end to their European campaign at Anfield.
Fresh from Sunday’s 5-0 battering of Premier League rivals Swansea City, Spanish defender Jose Enrique hopes Brendan Rodgers’ side can replicate that performance on Thursday.
“It was a good reaction from the team,” he said.
“It was a really hard game against Zenit so it is good for us to have this result because now our confidence is there for the next game, which it is really important we win.
“They (Zenit) spent a lot of money so they have good players so we have to keep a clean sheet and then to score as many as we can.”
Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel is a doubt for the Europa League second leg with Zenit St Petersburg as the Reds try to overturn a 2-0 deficit.
Skrtel missed training with a knee problem while striker Fabio Borini is definitely out with a shoulder injury picked up in Sunday’s win over Swansea.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has called on the fans to recreate great European nights of the past at Anfield.
“The legend of Liverpool is based on these types of nights,” he said.
“If you walk around Melwood (training ground), you see various quotes from top players and some of the world’s best managers.
“In those quotes, it’s not the game that is talked about, it’s the supporters – and it’s such nights that has really made Liverpool what it is.
“The fans will be vital – as they always are in every game. But we’ll need them even more. I’m sure we’ll get the
backing that will take us to victory.
“The important factor is not getting an early goal, it’s about getting the first goal. If we get the first goal, it will set us up. We’d love to get through.”
With Borini injured and fellow forward Daniel Sturridge cup-tied for the last-32 game, the Reds will be reliant on Luis Suarez.
The Uruguayan was guilty of several misses before goals from Hulk and Sergei Semak gave Zenit a first leg lead at the Petrovsky Stadium.
Suarez was substituted with 12 minutes remaining of Liverpool’s win over Swansea with Rodgers hoping to have him refreshed for the visit of the Russians.
“He didn’t want to come off. He wanted to stay on and get more goals,” said the manager.
“I’ve obviously got to think of the bigger picture. I wanted him to get a round of applause from the crowd because he deserved it, he worked his socks off.
“He is going to be very important for us. Giving him that little breather – at the time it is difficult for him to accept because he wanted to play – but he is a critical player for us.”
Playmaker Philippe Coutinho is also cup-tied for Liverpool.
Liverpool: Reina; Downing, Skrtel, Carragher, Wisdom; Allen, Gerrard, Henderson; Enrique, Suarez, Borini
Zenit: Malafeev; Anyukov, Alves, Hubocan, Lombaerts; Witsel, Denisov, Shirokov; Hulk, Kerzhakov, Danny
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