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Zenit play to win - Spalletti

Zenit St Petersburg coach Luciano Spalletti accepts his side cannot afford to be second best against Liverpool on Thursday in their Europa League last-32 first-leg tie.

Last Updated: 13/02/13 at 19:14 Post Comment

Luciano Spalletti: Targeting a win against Liverpool

Luciano Spalletti: Targeting a win against Liverpool

The Russian champions have not played a competitive match since mid-December because of the break in the domestic season, but Spalletti does not view that as an excuse.

"We can't play as number two. We'll play an intense match, aggressively," he said.

"We'll put out players that are most capable of scoring and winning the game - the best players - and we will play to win."

Unlike in the group stage, when Liverpool left captain Steven Gerrard at home for the clash with Anzhi in Moscow, Reds boss Brendan Rodgers has travelled with a virtually fully-strength side.

Spalletti is aware of the danger posed by Gerrard, who has impressed in recent weeks, and leading scorer Luis Suarez.

"If a player like Gerrard is allowed more time than necessary to think, he can play any pass he wants," the Italian added.

"If our defenders allow Suarez to move the way he wants, play one on one, he will cause a lot of problems for the team.

"For Zenit, it's one of the challenges we'd enjoy as Liverpool are a great team.

"Both teams feature great, strong players, so you have to play a really good match."

Striker Alexander Kerzhakov believes they are better than the visitors despite lacking competitive action.

"I don't think we're weaker than Liverpool," he said. "I think we're stronger than almost any opponent at home.

"Our trump card is that this is our game and our fans, our stadium, and our city."

The match heralds a return to his former club for Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel, who left the Russian side to move to Anfield in January 2008.

"A lot of time has gone by since we last trained together," Kerzhakov added.

"He's gotten better since then. He's become a leader of his club and his national team.

"He's a good and tenacious defender and he's really good in the air.

"As for their other defenders, they have, for example, Daniel Agger, who plays for the Danish national team."

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S

terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

rodger's gusset
Arsenal interest in Sterling

T

he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

ricky villa
Hodgson: Barkley was brilliant

N

o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

badwolf
Townsend: I've silenced critics

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