With the Champions League done and dusted for the week, Europa League action will once again take center stage, with Liverpool and Zenit St. Petersburg set to square off in the first leg of their Round of 32 fixture.
The Premier League giants have had somewhat of a disappointing season so far under Brendan Rodgers, with a talented squad failing to deliver on the potential that it has promised all season long. The Reds currently sit ninth in the English competition, with their most recent 2-0 loss to West Bromwich Albion at home the prime example of the inconsistency from the Merseyside club.
They'll be looking for a much more disciplined performance here as they seek to gain something from 2013 when they take on defending Russian champions Zenit St. Petersburg, who have also had a disappointing year so far this year.
The Russian champions spent exuberant amounts of money in the offseason in order to improve their squad for their UEFA Champions League berth and title defense but have failed dismally in both goals through the season so far.
They were eliminated from the group stages of the Champions League and sit five points adrift in the domestic table in third position. Which, given the attacking talent they have on hand at the moment in the likes of Hulk and Axel Witsel, seems like somewhat of a disappointment.
They, too, will be looking for improvement here to regain some good form.
Read on to find all the need-to-know details for this match, including where to view the match, as well as some last-minute predictions.
Date: Thursday, February 14, 2012
Venue: Petrovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg
Start time: 12:00 p.m. EST (5:00 p.m. GMT)
Live Stream and TV Info
Per Live Soccer TV, the match will be available for viewing on ESPNDeportes, Fox Soccer Plus and Fox Soccer 2Go throughout the United States.
ITV4 will cover the match throughout the United Kingdom.
Traveling to Russia at this time of year will be no easy feat for Liverpool, as Zenit St. Petersburg will truly have a big home-field advantage for this match.
The cold (predicted to be around 26 degrees Fahrenheit) plus the home side's full-on fanbase should make this a very difficult fixture for Rodgers' men to gain anything from here, and the EPL side would surely be content with a draw.
I think Liverpool will go aggressive in this one, and try to use some speed to get round the Russians on the wings—something that will bring them mixed success.
I'd say an opening goal to the Reds is cancelled out by a second-half finish from Danny—leaving this one tied at 1-1 by the time the final whistle blows—giving Liverpool a nice advantage for the return game back at the "warmth" of Anfield.
What do you see happening in this Europa League match?
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