With a two-goal deficit to chase, the Reds will need to be on top of their game to have any chance of progression, and Al Hain-Cole thinks their leaky defence may cost them
After crashing to a 2-0 defeat in Russia last week, Liverpool have left themselves with an almighty task on their hands when Zenit St Petersburg come to town for the return leg on Thursday.
A 5-0 win over Swansea on Sunday will have given the Reds a timely confidence boost, and they will need to put in a similarly convincing performance in order to overcome their classy opponents.
Anfield on a European night can be an intimidating place to visit, and the hosts are 4/6 (1.67) favourites with Coral to give the crowd something to cheer about with victory tonight.
Just one win and six defeats in nine European away games does not bode well for the visitors, although that victory did come against AC Milan at the San Siro in December, so they may fancy their chances of coming out on top, at odds of 4/1 (5.00).
The last team to hold Brendan Rodgers’ men to a draw at home was Young Boys in the group stages of this competition in November, and you can get odds of 11/4 (3.75) on a second successive Europa League stalemate here.
With 17 goals in their last five home games, the hosts will be confident of making in-roads into the two-goal deficit they currently find themselves in.
However, the Russians demonstrated in the first leg just how dangerous they are in attack themselves, and have more than enough quality to kill the tie off with an away goal or two.
Hulk and Co. will be licking their lips at the prospect of facing a defence that has kept just one clean sheet in their last six games, and odds of 8/11 (1.73) look very generous on both teams to score in this one.
Despite all of the money spent on high profile attacking players, many of Zenit’s goals have come via the boot of the understated Roman Shirokov.
The central midfielder has demonstrated his knack of appearing in the right place at the right time on many occasions, and was even his side’s top-scorer in last season’s Champions League.
Liverpool’s midfield have struggled to track runners from deep this season, as demonstrated by Sergei Semak’s goal in the first leg, and Shirokov looks like great value at 6/1 (7.00) to expose this weakness by getting on the score-sheet this evening.
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Al Hain-Cole is an experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.