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FC Zenit St Petersburg will look to make home advantage count in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 against a Liverpool FC side looking to win the trophy for a record fourth time.
• The clubs are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition.
• Zenit have played five games against English opposition – most recently winning the 2008 UEFA Super Cup via a 2-1 victory against Manchester United FC in Monaco – with the record W3 D0 L2 (W1 D0 L0 in Russia – W1 D0 L2 in England).
• Zenit have been to the city of Liverpool before, losing 1-0 against Everton FC in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup group stage. They went on to win the competition that season, though.
• Liverpool have already met a Premier-Liga side this season, winning 1-0 at home and losing 1-0 away against FC Anji Makhachkala in the group stage.
• The Reds' record in nine games against Russian clubs (including a 3-1 win against PFC CSKA Moskva in the 2005 UEFA Super Cup in Monaco) reads W5 D1 L3 (W2 D1 L1 at home – W2 D0 L2 in Russia). They have not conceded in their last three home matches against sides hailing from Russia.
• Zenit have lost only one of their last 19 European home games, going down 3-2 to AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League group stage in the autumn. They finished third in Group C to move into the UEFA Europa League last 32.
• Zenit have not lost in nine UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League home games since losing 1-0 to Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the 2007/08 quarter-finals.
• That loss at Anji in the autumn was Liverpool's only defeat in five European away games this season, all of the others ending in victory. The last of those wins – at Udinese Calcio on matchday six – secured them top spot in Group A.
• UEFA Cup winners in 2007/08, Zenit are back in the round of 32 for a fifth time since the advent of the group stage in 2004/05, and have yet to be eliminated at this stage.
• Liverpool have reached the round of 32 for the third time since the introduction of the group stage and have yet to fall at this hurdle. The sides that eliminated them (Club Atlético de Madrid in the 2009/10 semi-finals and SC Braga in the 2010/11 round of 16) went on to reach the final.
• The Reds are one of three sides – along with Juventus and FC Internazionale Milano – who have won this competition a record three times.
• Liverpool defender Martin Škrtel knows Zenit well, having made 74 league appearances for the club – and helping them to the 2007 Russian title – between leaving FK AS Trenčín in 2004 and heading for Anfield in January 2008.
• An industrious midfielder in his playing days, Zenit boss Luciano Spalletti started his coaching career in 1993/94 with former club Empoli FC, but forged his reputation at Udinese Calcio before leading AS Roma to two UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. Hired by Zenit in December 2009, he has won two Russian titles at the club.
• Brendan Rodgers replaced Kenny Dalglish as Liverpool manager at the end of the 2011/12 season, having won promotion to the Premier League with Swansea City AFC and led the Welsh club to a comfortable mid-table finish in their first campaign back in the top flight. Born in Northern Ireland, he had to end his playing career at 20 due to a knee condition, but made his name as a coach with Watford FC and Reading FC. He is coaching in Europe for the first time this term.
Round of 16: FC Basel 1893/FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk v Zenit/Liverpool
• The first legs will be played on 7 March, with the returns the following Thursday.
• Basel and Liverpool met in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League first group stage, drawing 1-1 at Anfield and 3-3 in Switzerland. Basel led that latter game 3-0 at the break, but while the Reds fought back, they could not secure the win that would have seen them steal a qualification place from their opponents.
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