Home News Liverpool 6-1 Sparta Prague: Player Ratings

Liverpool 6-1 Sparta Prague: Player Ratings

15
0

With four goals in seven minutes, Jurgen Klopp and his staff could sit back and relax as Liverpool knocked Sparta Prague out of the Europa League 11-2 on aggregate.

Liverpool 6-1 Sparta Prague

Europa League Last 16 Second leg, Anfield
March 14, 2024

Goals: Nunez 7′, Clark 8′, Salah 10′, Gakpo 14′, 55′, Szoboszlai 48′; Birmancevic 42′


Caoimhin Kelleher – 7 (out of 10)

The goalkeeper wasn’t at fault for the Sparta goal and hardly had anything to do all night but claim a couple of crosses, which he did very well.

It is worth noting his excellent distribution, punting perfectly upfield for Mo Salah who, for once, couldn’t bring the ball down into his path.

A case of staying warm for Caoimhin Kelleher on this drizzly night in L4.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, March 14, 2024: Liverpool's Bobby Clark (L) celebrateswith team-mate Conor Bradley after scoring the second goal during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 2nd Leg match between Liverpool FC and AC Sparta Praha at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Conor Bradley – 7

It was a match in which Conor Bradley was relatively untroubled in defence and spent most of his time coming inside to help as the inverted right-back.

His calmness and quality on the ball is a real asset when playing that position, and he set the tone early on with some quick vertical passes into the forwards.

Another performance in which he was a constant option on the right for the Reds.

Jarell Quansah – 8

After facing Erling Haaland, Jeremy Doku and Kevin de Bruyne on Sunday, this would have been akin to a walk in Stanley Park for Jarell Quansah.

As usual, he was excellent on the ball and saw off danger when needed. Like Gomez, there was a question over Sparta’s goal, but a very minor note on another great night for the young defender.

Joe Gomez – 7

Given this was the first time Joe Gomez had started at centre-back since September, the England international put in a good showing.

He was perhaps caught out for the Sparta goal but, with the game meaningless, it was easy to have a lapse of concentration – another solid 45 minutes for England international.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, March 14, 2024: Liverpool's Darwin Núñez celebrates after scoring the first goal during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 2nd Leg match between Liverpool FC and AC Sparta Praha at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Andy Robertson – 7

Andy Robertson will have felt slightly out of place when he was asked to play the second half as a centre-back, although he was hardly being tested!

He dealt with the task effortlessly, though, allowing Kostas Tsimikas a run out after the break. Having been on the bench against Man City, you would expect him to start against Man United on Sunday.

He hasn’t been in the spotlight this season, but the crowd still made sure his name was sung in the second half.

Wataru Endo – 7

The Japan captain was caught on the wrong side of Veljko Birmancevic for Sparta’s goal, but he could argue he shouldn’t have been the furthest man back in the first place.

It was another assured performance from Wataru Endo, who showed his ability to pick a pass in a brilliant moment when he slid the ball behind the opposition backline with an eye-of-the-needle pass for Mo Salah.

Dominik Szoboszlai (Man of the Match) – 8

Constantly looking forwards and making runs to stretch play, Dominik Szoboszlai was everywhere and a big factor in driving Liverpool on to those early goals.

He gets our man of the match as he was so dominant in and out of possession. Take that into Sunday, Dom!

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, March 14, 2024: Liverpool's Dominik Szoboszlai celebrates after scoring the fifth goal during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 2nd Leg match between Liverpool FC and AC Sparta Praha at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Bobby Clark – 8

He will be disappointed to have come off injured, but his first-half performance showed what a brilliant footballer he could be.

Bobby Clark showed tenacity for his goal but there was another moment that arguably stood out more – this was when he feinted brilliantly in the box before unleashing a powerful strike that troubled the goalkeeper.

There is some serious potential in this youngster.

Mohamed Salah – 8

It was like he was never away.

While his touch maybe wasn’t quite as immaculate as we’re used to – it’s a very high bar – Salah was clinical and effective in his build-up play.

Klopp would have preferred him not to play 90 minutes, but seems to have come away unscathed.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, March 14, 2024: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 2nd Leg match between Liverpool FC and AC Sparta Praha at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Darwin Nunez – 7

The Uruguayan was clinical to finish with a first-time, side-footed effort in the seventh minute, and was always on the shoulder. Another highlight was his incredible pass for Salah midway through the half.

He will look back, though, and wonder how he missed when Salah passes him the ball in the six-yard box, only for the striker to somehow lift the ball over the bar – it was probably more difficult to miss than score!

However, another 45 minutes and another goal can’t be seen as a bad evening for Nunez.

Cody Gakpo – 8

With several underwhelming performances of late, this could have be the game that got Cody Gakpo back into form.

His two goals were well taken and he consistently made dangerous runs into the box from the left, when the ball was about to be crossed.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised he looked more at home in the position he became known for at PSV.

 

Substitutes

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, March 14, 2024: Liverpool's Harvey Elliott celebrates after scoring the sixth goal during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 2nd Leg match between Liverpool FC and AC Sparta Praha at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Kostas Tsimikas (on for Gomez, 46′) – 7 – He would have been disappointed not to start, but Kostas Tsimikas did a professional job with the Reds already well ahead on the night.

Harvey Elliott (on for Nunez, 46′) – 8Harvey Elliott, as usual, provided energy and ideas as he injected threatened around the Sparta penalty box and was unlucky not to score.

James McConnell (on for Endo, 46′) – 8 – His long-range shooting aside, James McConnell only added to his reputation. The biggest compliment you can pay is that you didn’t notice Endo’s absence.

Virgil van Dijk (on for Quansah, 66′) – 8 – The Sparta forwards must have breathed a deep sigh when he came on. The Dutchman played on the right of defence for a change, as Robertson stayed at left centre-back.

Mateusz Musialowski (on for Clark, 73′) – 7 – With his final change of the night, Klopp elected to give Mateusz Musialowski a debut.

He burst onto the scene three and a half years ago in the academy and has become known for his low centre of gravity when dribbling, some of which he showed during his 15 minutes on the pitch.

Subs not used: Adrian, Mrozek, Mac Allister, McConnell, Diaz, Gordon, Koumas, Danns

 

Jurgen Klopp – 9

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, March 14, 2024: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 2nd Leg match between Liverpool FC and AC Sparta Praha at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

You would have to say Klopp should get full marks here, as his team won comfortably while simultaneously rotating players during the match and giving fitness to those who need it.

The boss lost his cool when Quansah was shown a yellow card moments before Van Dijk came on – understandable given it should never have been a booking and he had wanted to bring him off before the incident!

How Jurgen has juggled the squad recently is incredible. Now another European quarter final to look forward to next month!