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Europa League Round of 16: Sparta Prague vs Liverpool Preview & Lineups

Liverpool Eye Quarter-Finals Berth Despite Decisive First Leg Advantage over Sparta Prague

The Europa League resumes its knockout stages this week, with Liverpool traveling to the Czech Republic to face Sparta Prague in the second leg of their Round of 16 tie. The Reds hold a commanding 5-1 lead from the first leg, putting them firmly in control of the tie.

First Leg Recap

Liverpool took charge of the first leg at Generali Arena, dismantling Sparta Prague with a clinical attacking display. Darwin Nunez stole the show with a brace, while goals from Alexis Mac Allister, Luis Diaz ( deflected ), and a Conor Bradley own goal sealed the comfortable victory for Jurgen Klopp's men.

Team News

For Liverpool, the significant injury list continues to be a concern. Key players like Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Thiago Alcantara, and Diogo Jota remain sidelined. However, Klopp is expected to rotate his squad, giving opportunities to fringe players to impress. Caoimhin Kelleher could continue in goal behind a backline potentially featuring Ibrahima Konate and Nat Phillips. Academy prospect Conor Bradley might retain his right-back spot, with Kostas Tsimikas at left-back. The midfield could see Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner, and Fabio Carvalho starting, while the attacking options could include Mohamed Salah, Luis Diaz, and Curtis Jones.

Sparta Prague will be desperate to avoid an embarrassing defeat at home. They will likely adopt a more attacking approach compared to the first leg, hoping to salvage some pride and potentially snatch an unlikely win.

Predicted Lineups

Sparta Prague (4-4-2):

  • Vaclik (GK)
  • Zima (RB), Celustka (CB), Vindrheim (CB), Mejdr (LB)
  • Haraslin (RW), Kairinen (CM), Laci (CM), Karlsson (LW)
  • Kuchta (ST), Minchev (ST)

Liverpool (4-3-3):

  • Kelleher (GK)
  • Bradley (RB), Konate (CB), Phillips (CB), Tsimikas (LB)
  • Oxlade-Chamberlain (CM), Milner (CM), Carvalho (CM)
  • Salah (RW), Diaz (LW), Jones (ST)

Can Liverpool Secure Their Passage?

Liverpool's dominant first-leg victory makes them overwhelming favorites to progress to the quarter-finals. However, Klopp is unlikely to underestimate Sparta Prague and will aim to secure a professional victory away from home. The focus for the Reds will be on managing the game effectively, avoiding complacency, and potentially giving valuable playing time to fringe players. 

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