Lessons Learned: Sparta Prague Smashed For Six – Europa League

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Liverpool’s Europa Triumph: Key Takeaways from a Goal-Filled Night

Well, it was probably a bit of a more robust starting lineup than many had suspected for a dead-rubber second leg, yet we haven’t talked about that for long. Whatever possessed Sparta to play risky passes at the back from the off is anyone’s guess, yet Liverpool were happy to accept all the gifts that came their way. There were four goals in the opening fourteen minutes, and cricket scores were being predicted everywhere. We look at the lessons learned from an eventful Thursday night under the lights at Anfield, where there were goals galore.

Photo by IMAGO

Mo Salah’s Historic Achievement

It was great to see Mo Salah back and starting this one, as we know he needed the minutes and sharpness. After fifteen minutes, he’d become the first player in Liverpool’s 132-year history to score twenty-plus goals in seven consecutive seasons. An incredible feat. He also had two assists in that time, having pinched the ball for Bobby Clark’s first senior goal and laid one on a plate for Cody Gakpo to stroke home. He got another assist later for Szoboszlai, and if anything, he could have had a couple more goals and assists, but for the final moment, however, it mattered not a jot. The king is back, and Anfield rose to acknowledge it. They’ll be more important games but the perfect tune-up for him ahead of United.

Darwin Nunez’s Unpredictable Brilliance

After only forty-five minutes, we’d seen literally everything Darwin Nunez had in his range. He notched his 17th of the season with a side-foot finish when Szoboszlai squared for the opener. The Uruguayan then hit a stunning volleyed pass to Salah, which rightly drew chants from the Anfield faithful. We then saw the other side as a horrendous miss from six yards was more accessible to score. A couple of defensive presses combined with a shanked overhead kick for effect and a superb over-the-shoulder pass to Salah were purely garnishing. It’s impossible to take your eyes off a simple box office player.

Cody Gakpo’s Mixed Fortunes

He’s recently looked massively out of sorts and badly needed a goal and confidence boost. This was the perfect game for Cody Gakpo, who netted two in very different circumstances. The first was from a well-timed run and controlled finish off a Mo Salah assist. The second could be argued was a clever touch from a Harvey Elliott effort that was heading wide. However, the Dutch forward was visibly and understandably upset at not netting a hat-trick as he passed up several opportunities, including a shank when clean in. Reds fans won’t be too disheartened to see that frustration, and let’s hope this is something he kicks on from.

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