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."

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

S

hould have stayed because we carried him for 6.5 years. And then he has a breakthrough season, and was gone soon after. MU fans, you would be as disgusted had C Ronaldo left in 2007 and not 2009.

godof86
Is Van Persie Slipping Sadly Into The Night?

G

ood grief. Someone guessed that the form English player at the moment might be in his national side with some other players? And that's espionage? Now if they discovered that Emile Heskey was going to be in the starting line up.... at right back.... THAT would be espionage. Give it a rest Roy.

RogerRedHat
Hodgson hits out at Kane leak

H

e may get away with if Liverpool can swap the video with one of Skrtel dancing or something, but if they review the one shown on TV he's screwed.

hump3.
Skrtel denies violent conduct

Footer 365

Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Debuchy step up Arsenal comebacks

Jack Wilshere scored as he stepped up his comeback from injury against a Brentford XI at Arsenal's training ground on Tuesday.

Wayne Rooney cannot wait to link up with Harry Kane for England

Wayne Rooney has been gripped by the excitement surrounding Harry Kane and can't wait to link up with him against Italy.

Tottenham striker Harry Kane to make first England start in Italy

Harry Kane will make his first start for England in Tuesday night's friendly in Italy, Roy Hodgson has confirmed.

Mail Box

Why Do Arsenal Have So Many 'Internet Warriors'?

The Mailbox has an open letter from Liverpool's Raheem Sterling, questions Phil Jones' bulldog spirit and asks: "Why do Arsenal have so many "internet warriors?"

It's All Just A Ruse By The 'Southern Press'...

A varied Tuesday morning Mailbox, with thoughts on the England U21s, a Sterling ruse, Kane realism, Wenger coaching youth and enjoying the charity match...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company