Reds hope Europa League clash with Russians is not marred by racism.
Liverpool have warned Thursday’s Europa League opponents Zenit St Petersburg the club will have a zero-tolerance policy to any abuse aimed at black players.
The Reds warning comes in light of a manifesto published by Zenit fans in the December last year, demanding the club do not sign any non-white, South American or homosexual players.
Managing director Ian Ayre aired his concerns on the club’s official website: “It’s been a major concern for us, so I wrote to UEFA very recently expressing our concerns to them – and also to Zenit themselves.
“’We await some responses in that regard. The most we can do is make our feelings clear ahead of the game, and hope that we get an adequate response and adequate support on the night.”
Ayre does plan on speaking to players before the game, adding: “As with everything, the players have a lot to take on board around such a big game – so we’re going to do that just ahead of the game. The most important thing for our players is that they remain professional throughout this.”
Liverpool are also taking additional measures to ensure the safety of fans too, as Ayre explained: “Ged Poynton, our stadium manager, and Zoe Ward, our club secretary, both travelled out ahead of the game to inspect the facilities. We’ll ensure our fans are looked after, as we always do, for their safety.”
The Europa League has assumed added importance for the Merseyside outfit after Monday night’s shock 2-0 home defeat to West Brom effectively ruled Liverpool out of the face for the Premier League top four.