Sparta Prague v Liverpool – Europa League Last 16 Preview

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Sparta Prague v Liverpool – Europa League Last 16 Preview

After the amazing 99th minute winner over Nottingham Forest on Saturday, the reds will continue their Premier League charge against their main rivals for the title, Manchester City, on Sunday afternoon at Anfield. That encounter may well shape how the season ends for each club, however, both will have to undertake their respective European obligations in the midweek prior. Liverpool will travel to Czechoslovakia on Thursday, where the first of their two-legged tie in the last 16 of the Europa League awaits. Sparta Prague was the name drawn to face the reds, with the second leg being played a week later on Merseyside.

Team News

Sparta Prague

In terms of availability, Andreas Vindheim appears to be the only missing piece for Brian Priske’s side. A strong starting lineup will be preferred by the home side, as they maintain a strong lead at the top of their domestic league.

Regarding recent form, Sparta Prague faced off against local rivals, Slavia Prague, twice in the last week. The most recent game was a 0-0 draw at home, as the Czech First League’s top two teams faced off against each other. Four days prior to that Sunday encounter, Slavia Prague hosted their domestic rivals, as the Czech Cup quarter final ended in a 2-3 win for the visitors. In the previous round of the 32 in the Europa League, Prague overcame Galatasaray over two legs, winning by 6-4 on aggregate. The Czech side currently leads their top division, with 60-points taken from 23-games played.

Photo: IMAGO

Predicted Lineup

A predicted line up for the visitors is listed below, in a 3-4-3 formation.

Peter Vindahl Jensen, Martin Vitik, Filip Panak, Ladislav Krejci, Angelo Preciado, Kaan Kairinen, Qazim Laci, Matej Rynes, Veljko Birmancevic, Jan Kuchta, Lukas Haraslin


In terms of injures, the Spanish pair of Thiago Alcântara and Stefan Bajčetić remain unavailable, with the younger midfielder hopeful of a return in the coming months. Joël Matip has sustained a season ending ACL injury, one that may have seen him play his last game for the club. Trent Alexander Arnold, Alisson Becker, and Curtis Jones, are out until after the international break, whereas Diogo Jota is sidelined for another month to six weeks. Ryan Gravenberch is still sidelined with an ankle injury, however, Mohamed Salah is hopefully able to take his place on the bench, before making himself available for a starting berth against Manchester City on Sunday.

Photo: IMAGO

Recent Form

Regarding recent form, the reds scored a dramatic (and rather controversial) late goal to secure a 0-1 away win against Nottingham Forest on Saturday, after an overcoming Southampton by a 3-0 margin in the FA Cup 5th round. The reds were awarded a bye in the last round of 32 in the Europa League, after finishing top of their group stage.

Predicted Lineup

Below is the team I believe the reds German manager will start on Thursday (17.45 GMT), which will see a rotated team managed in preparation for a Manchester City’s visit to Anfield on Sunday.

Caoimhin Kelleher, Conor Bradley, Ibrahima Konate, Virgil van Dijk (C), Kostas Tsimikas, Wataru Endo, Bobby Clark, James McConnell, Harvey Elliott, Jayden Danns, Cody Gakpo

How Will This Contest Play Out?

The fact that the second leg of this last 16 tie will be played at Anfield, should play heavily into the thinking of the visiting side. Liverpool must concentrate on a solid and organised performance, with certain players held back for Sunday’s vital match against City. Ultimately, this Liverpool team will be capable of producing brilliance under the Anfield lights in a weeks’ time, therefore, a professional and controlled game plan must be implemented in the away leg, which should make for a tight game that finishes all square.

Player to watch – Jayden Danns

Score Prediction;

Sparta Prague 2 – 2 Liverpool

Steven Smith

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