Liverpool to play Zenit in Europa League

Liverpool have been drawn against Russian giants Zenit St Petersburg for the Europa League round of 32, the BBC has reported.

Zenit, who are the reigning Russian champions and currently lie third in their domestic league, have emerged as big spenders in Russia, having forked out over £60m in the summer on Brazilian star Hulk,and Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel. They finished third in their Champions League group behind Milan and Malaga.

They have also come under heavy criticism this week following controversial comments made by a supporters group, in particular making reference to black and gay players. The supporters group has since defended their comments, saying they were taken out of context.

Liverpool qualified after topping their Europa League group, finishing above Anzhi Makhachkala, Young Boys and Udinese. They currently sit 12th in the Premier League. The won the UEFA Cup – the pre-cursor to the Europa League – in 2000, as well as winning the Champions League in 2005.

Zenit will host the first leg on February 14th, whilst Liverpool will stage at Anfield the return leg on February 21st. The winners of the tie will play either Basel of Switzerland or Urkainian side Dnipro.

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