LUCAS LEIVA has warned that Liverpool must nullify the threat of fellow Brazilian Hulk if they are going to pull off a memorable Europa League comeback at Anfield tonight.
The burly striker has struggled in Russia since his £43million move from Porto last September but showed his class with a stunning 25-yard effort in Zenit St Petersburg's 2-0 win in the first leg last week.
“We are close, especially as we had the chance to play a few times in the national team together,” Lucas said.
“Hulk scored a good goal against us and he's an important player for Zenit. After the game we'll have a friendly chat and hopefully I'll be happier than him.
“We know we need to score goals but we also have to play with a defensive mentality because to concede a goal will make it even harder for us.
“We need to try to find the right balance. Hopefully it will be another good night to remember. We really believe that we can get through to the next stage.”
Lucas' optimism is fuelled by the form of skipper Steven Gerrard and the vocal support of a capacity Anfield crowd.
“I've been playing with Stevie for six years already and every week we can see he still has the hunger to win games and be the special player that he has always been for the club,” he added.
“He's playing in a different position, a deeper role than he was used to, but he's still able to change games.
“I'm just very happy that we have him on the team. His leadership always makes our lives easier.
“The Europa League is a competition that we always wanted to do well in. We know about the special European nights at Anfield that the crowd give us. They will definitely be our 12th player.”