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Liverpool bid to topple Zenit

Liverpool FC will look to steal FC Zenit St Petersburg's thunder as the Reds go in to the second leg of their UEFA Europa League round of 32 trailing the Russian side 2-0.

Zenit's Hulk and Liverpool's Raheem Sterling jostle in the first leg
Zenit's Hulk and Liverpool's Raheem Sterling jostle in the first leg ©Getty Images

Liverpool FC's hopes of winning the trophy for a record fourth time are in the balance as they look to overturn a 2-0 UEFA Europa League round of 32 deficit against FC Zenit St Petersburg.

• At a stage when Zenit were struggling to match their first-half showing, Hulk (69) and Sergei Semak (72) scored in quick succession in Russia to leave the Reds with a mountain to climb at Anfield.

Previous meetings
• The clubs met for the first time in the first leg.

• 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 ten games against Russian clubs (including a 3-1 win against PFC CSKA Moskva in the 2005 UEFA Super Cup in Monaco) reads W5 D1 L4 (W2 D1 L1 at home – W2 D0 L3 in Russia). They have not conceded in their last three home games against Russian sides.

• Zenit have now played six games against English opposition – including a 2-1 win against Manchester United FC in the 2008 UEFA Super Cup in Monaco – with the record W4 D0 L2 (W2 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.

Match background
• Liverpool have lost just once in their last 16 European home games – 3-2 against Udinese Calcio in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage - a run which includes 11 wins as well as four draws.

• 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.

• A 1-0 win at AC Milan in their final UEFA Champions League group stage game in the autumn ended an eight-game wait for a Zenit away success in Europe. That run comprised six defeats and two draws. Danny's goal at San Siro ended a run of four European away games without a goal for Zenit.

Team facts
• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

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.