Early team news for Sparta Prague vs Liverpool

Early team news for Sparta Prague vs Liverpool

Liverpool head out to the Czech Republic later today ahead of their Europa League Last 16 clash with Sparta Prague on Thursday.  We take a look at the early team news and predicted lineups.

Liverpool are back in European action for the first time in nearly three months this week, as the Reds look to progress in another competition, in their quest to claim an unprecedented quadruple!

Sparta Prague are the opponents on Thursday, with Liverpool traveling to the Czech Republic for the first leg, with the second leg at Anfield seven days later.  The two sides have met once before in European competition, back in 2011, when Liverpool secured a 1 - 0 aggregate victory thanks to a goal from Dirk Kuyt in the second leg.  Liverpool's team has come a long way since those days, when Kuyt, Daniel Agger, and Lucas Leiva were three of the Red's best players.  Not that they weren't good players, but I'm not sure I would take Agger over Van Dijk, or Kuyt over Salah.

Still, with our injury crisis far from over, Red's boss Jurgen Klopp may once again be forced to play a 'weakened' team on Thursday, with Sunday's huge game against Manchester City in the Premier League just around the corner. So let's take a look at the early team news from Anfield and the AXA Training Centre.

Unavailable Players

Most of Liverpool's injured players are out for the long-term, so its quite easy to confirm who will not be travelling with the squad today.

Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Jones, Jota, Matip, Thiago, Bajcetic, and  Doak are not expected back until the end of March at the earliest, so they will all be staying on Merseyside and cheering on their teammates on TV.

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Klopp to rely on Academy players once again

Darwin Nunez, Wataru Endo, and Dominik Szoboszlai all returned in the weekend victory over Nottingham Forest, though Klopp would probably prefer to rest all three ahead of the City match on Sunday.  I suspect they will all make the bench, in case Liverpool needs to wrestle control of the match, but hopefully, our youngsters will have enough quality to see off Sparta Prague.

Mo Salah is also close to a return to full fitness, but again, Klopp is unlikely to risk him in this game.  Maybe a 5 - 10 minute run out at the end of the game if we are in control, just to get some minutes into his legs ahead of Sunday.

That means more game time for the likes of Bradley, Clark, Danns, Quansah, and McConnell, with Gomez, Tsimikas, Van Dijk, Kelleher, Gakpo, and Elliott adding some much-needed experience to the Starting XI.  Join us tomorrow for our predicted lineup, when we will hopefully have more updated team and injury news from Jurgen Klopp's pre-match press conference.

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Peter Farrell :: LFC - Back On Our Perch Author and Editor

Peter Farrell - Editor and Chief Article Writer, LFC - Back On Our Perch
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Lifelong fan with a passion for all things Liverpool. First memory of football is watching John Barnes score a dramatic last minute equaliser in the FA Cup when he was 4. Feels lucky to be a part of the 'Klopp' era.

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