Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers will warn players over possible racist abuse ahead of the Europa League last 32 first leg tie against Zenit St Petersburg.

Zenit's largest fan club, Landscrona, in December demanded the club refrain from signing black and gay players, with French midfielder Yann M'Vila sent death threats prior to rejecting a move to the Russina Superleague side.

Current Anzhi Makhackala sporting director Roberto Carlos and former defender Chris Samba, among Queens Park Rangers' newest signings, are among those to have been subjected to monkey chants and had bananas thrown at them during games.

In defeat to Anzhi in November, Liverpool's players escaped racial abuse but Rodgers will make them aware that such an event could occur on Thursday night.

"I will make reference to it [the racism situation] because we have players it maybe could affect, but we are here for football," he told Sky Sports.

"We are very hopeful there will be a terrific game and anything that goes on outside the field will be taken care of.

"I know these are players who want to play and Glen is a very experienced, top international player.

"And young Raheem has been through situations like this [in an Under-21 international in Serbia in October] before.

"It is something which will very much unite the players and they will become one group. No-one in life wants to see anyone come under any sort of scrutiny like that.

"You go into the sporting arena and hopefully everyone from football, UEFA, referees and officials will support any player it may affect.

"There is no doubt if there is anything like that, which is untoward, then we as a group will do everything we can to support the player or players. We hope it is a game where the officials and UEFA can take care of all that."

With Champions League qualification beyond the club's reach, Liverpool are likely to take the knock-out phase of the Europa League seriously in an attempt to finish a campaign of transition with a trophy.

Should they bypass Zenit, one of the eight teams to join the competition at the last 32 stage having been knocked out of the Champions League, Liverpool could face either FC Basel or Dnipro in the round of 16.