Zenit draw Liverpool in Europa League

Nyon: Zenit St. Petersburg will play English giants Liverpool in the first knockout stage of the Europa League, while Rubin Kazan drew defending champions Atletico Madrid of Spain.

Zenit came into the Europa League after finishing third in their Champions League group behind Malaga and AC Milan.

Luciano Spalletti`s men face the top side in the competition`s history for the first time. Liverpool may rely their former Zenit centre back Martin Skrtel for inside information on the Russian champions.

Skrtel switched to Merseyside in 2008, just a few months before Zenit clinched the UEFA Cup for the first time.

Rubin, who qualified as group winners after a campaign that included a 3-0 win over Inter Milan, have possibly the toughest draw of all in Atletico, riding high in La Liga and fuelled by star striker Falcao.

The teams have never played, though Rubin have a reasonable record against Spanish opposition, with one win, two draws and one defeat, all against Barcelona.

Guus Hiddink`s Anzhi Makhachkala, meanwhile, drew relatively modest opposition in German side FC Hannover.

Anzhi finished second in Group A behind Liverpool after losing their final match against Young Boys and as a result have the disadvantage of playing their second leg away.

The final is at the Amsterdam Arena May 15.

Complete round-of-32 draw:

BATE Borisov vs Fenerbahce

Inter Milan vs FC Cluj

Levante vs Olympiacos

Zenit St. Petersburg vs Liverpool

Dynamo Kiev vs Bordeaux

Bayer Leverkusen vs Benfica

Newcastle United vs Metalist Kharkiv

Stuttgart vs Genk

Atletico Madrid vs Rubin Kazan

Ajax vs Steaua Bucharest

FC Basel vs Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk

Anzhi Makhchkala vs Hannover

Sparta Prague vs Chelsea

Borussia Monchengladbach vs Lazio

Tottenham Hotspur vs Lyon

Napoli vs Plzen

IANS/RIA Novosti