Liverpool v Spartak Moscow - Knockout Stages beckon for Klopp's in-form Reds
Venue – Anfield, Liverpool
Referee – TBC
Date & Time – Wednesday, December 6th 2017 @ 19:45 BST
Current Odds – Liverpool 2/9, Draw 11/2, Spartak 10/1
Liverpool’s form has been much improved since the defeat to Spurs, and even that game was something of a speed wobble as the team had already shown signs of improvement before that, after a very disappointing September.
If they can keep the momentum going into this hectic festive period then Klopp’s men could be in a very solid position for the second half of the season. A win against Spartak guarantees first place in the group to the Reds, a draw will guarantee qualification for the knockout stages, at least.
Spartak have been doing well themselves, of late. They are fourth in the Russian Premier League and have won their last four league games in a row. The only game in their last five which was not a victory for Spartak was their relatively disappointing 1-1 home draw with Maribor in this Champions League group.
As can be seen from the xA (Expected Goals Against) stats in the table below, Spartak do not give up many easy chances to the opposition. In the reverse fixture in Moscow, Liverpool were well on top, however, and were very unfortunate to have to settle for a 1-1 draw.
Liverpool Team News
Clyne and Matip are out due to injury. Matip is not expected back until January and Clyne is expected to be unavailable for longer, February at least. To counter this, Klopp tried three at the back against Brighton, with Lovren in between two ‘midfielders’ in the back three. I expect to see a similar shape on Wednesday night with Gomez and Moreno returning. Salah might take a place on the bench with Mané starting up front with Firmino.
Liverpool’s Top 3 Rated Players this season (WhoScored.com)
- R. Firmino 8.19
- M. Salah 8.02
- P. Coutinho 7.78
Spartak Team News
Ananidze, Kombarov and Tigiev are out for Spartak while Timofeev is doubtful for this game. Spartak normally set themselves up in a 4-4-1-1 shape where they will attempt to congest the middle of the park.
Spartak’s Top 3 Rated Players this season (WhoScored.com)
- Q. Promes 7.46
- A. Eshchenko 7.35
- D. Kombarov 7.22
Liverpool XI (3-5-2) – Karius; Can, Lovren, Gomez; Alexander-Arnold, Wijnaldum, Henderson(c), Coutinho, Moreno; Mané, Firmino
Spartak XI (4-4-1-1) – Selikhov; Eshchenko, Kutepov, Bocchetti, Jikia; Melgarejo, Glushakov(c), Pasalic, Samedov; Rocha; Adriano
When they last met
Spartak managed to sneak a 1-1 draw in Moscow against Liverpool. Klopp and his men were rightfully disappointed not to have snapped up all three points in Russia after dominating for pretty much the full ninety minutes.
The last time Spartak played at Anfield was in 2002 when Houllier’s Liverpool won the Champions League group game 5-0.
Liverpool 3 – 0 Spartak Moscow
Liverpool are a little bit irresistible at the moment. The goals are flying in and the confidence is high. Klopp has rightly begun rotating in preparation for a gruelling month of football for the Reds. Liverpool should have won comfortably in Moscow and I feel they will right that wrong on Wednesday night when Spartak visit. A comfortable home win for the Reds.