Zenit vs. Liverpool  2 - 0

Article

Allen desperate to improve form

14 February 2013 13:37

Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen is looking to reverse a form slump in Thursday's Europa League first leg against Zenit St Petersburg.

The former Swansea man was a regular fixture under Brendan Rodgers following his 15-million-pound move, after following the Reds boss to Anfield from Wales, but has featured in just two of the last nine starting line-ups.

Allen said he has not been at his best recently, but has pinpointed Liverpool's tricky last-32 away tie against Zenit as a chance to prove his worth.

"My form hasn't been great, especially compared to the start of the season, but that is more down to myself," he told reporters.

"But I am looking forward to working hard and try to turn things around a little bit.

"I haven't played that much recently so any chance I get to participate then I'll be hoping to impress as much as I can and stake my claim.

"We were bitterly disappointed after Monday's defeat to West Brom - that goes without saying - but we have this tie to look forward to and refocus."

Article

Europa League preview: Chelsea to debut, Liverpool visit Zenit

14 February 2013 02:34

European champions Chelsea headline the eight Champions League teams entering the Europa League knockout stage on Thursday.

Chelsea bowed out of the Champions League behind Juventus

and Shakhtar Donetsk, but qualified for the Europa League round of 32 by finishing third in Group E.

Other Champions League sides joining the Europa League include Ajax, Zenit St Petersburg, Dynamo Kiev and Benfica.

BATE Borisov, Olympiacos and CFR Cluj, who stunned Manchester United at Old Trafford in the group stage, also moved from the Champions League to the secondary competition.

Of the last 32, Chelsea are the only club who have never previously competed in the Europa League.

With teams to meet over two legs in the knockout stage, Chelsea open their campaign at Sparta Prague.

Prague have not played a competitive match since December 6 due to their winter break, but boast a superb home record in European competition.

Prague are unbeaten in their past 11 European games at Letna Stadium, having accounted for the likes of Athletic Bilbao and Palermo in the process.

Chelsea, on the other hand, have won just one of their past five matches in all competitions, heaping further pressure on interim manager Rafael Benitez.

Elsewhere, Ajax take on Steaua Bucharest, hoping to improve on their recent European home record in their fifth consecutive appearance in the last 32.

Ajax have lost four of their past five European home matches, while Steaua are undefeated in five European away games this season.

Zenit are at home to Liverpool, who are aiming to win the title for a record fourth time.

Liverpool, who tasted UEFA Cup success in 1973, 1976 and 2001, have their sights set on Europa League glory following elimination from the English FA Cup and League Cup.

Kiev are up against Bordeaux, while Benfica travel to Bayer Leverkusen and BATE entertain Fenerbahce.

Olympiacos face Levante away from home, while Cluj tackle Inter Milan, who are also seeking a record fourth title.

In other matches, Tottenham Hotspur welcome Lyon, with goalkeeper Hugo Lloris set to face his former side for the first time.

Metalist take on Newcastle United, who are unbeaten in 11 European home games since a loss in the 2005 UEFA Intertoto Cup.

Defending champions Atletico Madrid continue their bid for a third title in four seasons at home to Rubin Kazan.

Meanwhile, Anzhi Makhachkala host Hannover, while Genk make the short journey to Stuttgart and Viktoria Plzen face an uphill battle against Napoli.

Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk are away to the Basel, while Borussia Moenchengladbach entertain Lazio, who have the equal-best defence in the competition.

Article

Europa League: Liverpool tackle Zenit

20 December 2012 14:52

The draw for the rounds of 32 and 16 of the Europa League has offered some interesting ties.

Serie A giants Inter have been paired with Romanian outfit Cluj, who finished third in their Champions League group behind Manchester United and Galatasaray.

Liverpool will have to deal with Russian champions Zenit St Petersburg, Benfica meet Bayer Leverkusen, while holders Atletico Madrid face Russia's Rubin Kazan.

Ajax, who host the final, were paired with Steaua Bucharest, whereas Champions League holders Chelsea will have to deal with Sparta Prague.

The round of 32 takes place on February 14 and 21, while the round of 16 will be played on March 7 and 14. The final is at the Amsterdam ArenA on May 15.

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 17 +31 41
2 17 +22 34
3 16 +17 32
4 17 +10 31
5 17 +8 30

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
8 17 +3 25
9 17 -5 23
10 17 -3 22
11 17 +0 21
12 17 -10 20