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Zenit v Liverpool: Strong travellers can gain draw from stingy hosts

| 14.02.2013

Liverpool will travel to Russia for the second time this season to meet Zenit, with the Reds 11/5 to triumph in this Europa League round of 32 clash.

Brendan Rodgers’ side lost on their earlier visit to the country, when Anzhi Makhachkala bested them via a 1-0 scoreline in a group tie.

But it should be noted that that result represents Liverpool’s only defeat from their last six on the road in Europe.

Each of the other five have resulted in wins for the Merseyside outfit, but the draw may prove appealing to some punters as an 11/5 shot.

That comes in light of Zenit’s superb home record in this tournament, which has seen them lose only once in their last 19 European outings on their own patch.

Unbeaten in Russia in the Europa League since 2008, the champions of that year are 5/4 to gain a first-leg advantage here.

It may interest punters to know that entertainment has been prevalent in European Stadion Petrovski matches this term meanwhile, with 10 goals stemming from three matches at the ground.

In keeping with that average, over 2.5 goals would need to be scored in this match, and that seems a plausible scenario to occur at 6/5.

Both teams scored in two of Zenit’s three home games during this campaign too, and that outcome looks worth backing again as a 5/6 shot.

Even in Daniel Sturridge’s absence, Liverpool still undoubtedly have the most talented attacking player between the two teams at their disposal, with Luis Suarez expected to start.

Therefore, Rodgers’ men can be expected to score, and Suarez is joint-favourite to be the first player to do so at 5/1.

He shares that favouritism with Zenit striker Aleksandr Kerzhakov, whilst powerful ex-Porto man Hulk is a 7/1 shot to bag first.

But a number of Anfield fringe players have a point to prove, and could get the chance to do just that for the visitors in Russia.

Fabio Borini has had a dismal time since moving to Liverpool in the summer, but is likely to start after returning from injury, and is 8/1 to add to his sole Reds goal with the opener here.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



John Klee