UEFA Europa League Preview: Liverpool vs Sparta Prague

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lorenzo bernardi

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  • UEFA Europa League Preview: Liverpool vs Sparta Prague

UEFA Europa League Preview: Liverpool vs Sparta Prague

Liverpool take on the Czech champions Sparta Prague in the second leg of the Round of 32 in the UEFA Europa League at Anfield on February 24. The first leg of the clash ended in a 0-0 draw at the Generali Arena in Prague. Liverpool have the advantage and a win at home would definitely take them through to the next round. Kenny Dalglish will be looking for his first win in Europe as Liverpool manager and he could achieve the feat in front of the Kop.

Liverpool topped Group K with 10 points and are still unbeaten in the competition whereas Sparta Prague finished runners-up in Group F with CSKA Moskva topping the Group.

Liverpool could be without their inspirational captain Steven Gerrard as he is out with a groin injury. The manager Kenny Dalglish said that he would not like to rush the veteran before he is fully match fit. Andy Carroll will also miss the clash at home as he is still recovering from a thigh injury. The other Liverpool signing, Luis Suarez, is ineligible to play as he represented Ajax Amsterdam in the competition.

Daniel Agger has recovered from injury and is likely to start alongside Jamie Carragher in the heart of defence. Danny Wilson is expected to maintain his place as the left back after an inspiring performance in Prague.

The absence of Gerrard would mean Christian Poulsen is likely to start in central midfield alongside Lucas Leiva. Joe Cole will again start after regaining fitness last week and will be hoping to cement his place in the side with a powerful performance.

The visitors will deploy the same side that played Liverpool last week as they have no injury problems. Cameroonian duo Martin Abena and Leonard Kweuke will start upfront for the Spartans. Kamil Vacek and Marek Matejovsky will retain their position in the centre of midfield after a strong performance in the reverse fixture. Andrej Keric and Vaclav Kadlec will be played in the wide midfield roles to provide flare on the wings for the visitors.

Liverpool have the advantage from the first leg in Prague and will be looking to seal their place in the last 16 with a win at Anfield. Prague will surely play for a win and an away goal could turn out to be crucial for the Czech side. A 1-1 draw would mean that Prague go through on away goals.

The Reds have choked to smaller teams in the past and the absence of key players for Liverpool is another disadvantage with the likes of Gerrard, Suarez and Carroll missing. But the hosts have been on a high recently with Kenny Dalglish in charge. The Merseysiders have not lost in their last six matches in all competitions and are expected to go through. The Reds are very strong defensively with Lucas and Poulsen in the midfield but will be looking for some attacking display from Raul Meireless and Joe Cole.

 

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