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Liverpool lineup vs. Sparta Prague – Salah returns with up to 6 players rested?


Thanks to last week’s 5-1 win over Sparta Prague, Jurgen Klopp has the opportunity to rest some players for the Europa League last-16 second leg.

The thumping win victory in Prague has given Klopp and the players a welcome evening at Anfield on which they can relax to some extent.

The boys won’t be allowed to put their feet up completely, though, with Sparta wanting to give a good account of themselves in just the club’s second-ever match at Anfield.

With all that in mind, here’s how Liverpool could line up.


Team news

Here’s what Klopp revealed in his press conference and who was spotted in training:

  • Mo Salah “is ready to start,” but full 90 minutes unlikely
  • Ryan Gravenberch back in training, could take his place on the bench
  • “The lineup will have the best legs,” Klopp hinted


Liverpool’s XI vs. Sparta Prague

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 26, 2023: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the fifth goal during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 3 game between Liverpool FC and Toulouse FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp will take the opportunity to rest some of Liverpool’s key players, namely Alexis Mac Allister, Wataru Endo, Harvey Elliott and Luis Diaz in all likelihood.

The amount of injuries Liverpool already have, though, mean the boss still hasn’t got too many options with which to rotate. For example, we could see the same centre-back pairing that played against Man City.

One player we know will almost certainly start is Dominik Szoboszlai. He took the pre-match press conference, declaring himself himself “pain-free” and “back.”

Here is how Liverpool will probably begin the match:

  • Salah to make first Liverpool start since New Year’s Day
  • James McConnell and Bobby Clark expected to come in, giving Mac Allister and Endo a rest
  • Lewis Koumas makes his second appearance, allowing Diaz to sit this one out

This is how Liverpool would line up:

Kelleher; Bradley, Quansah, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; McConnell, Szoboszlai, Clark; Salah, Koumas, Gakpo

Strikers love scoring goals and it is something Darwin Nunez will be keen to do on Thursday, even if the tie is all-but wrapped up already.

Should he start, it would see Koumas take to the bench, but almost certainly get minutes as a substitute. Jayden Danns is unlikely to be involved, due to a concussion sustained against Nottingham Forest.

Cody Gakpo is in desperate need of some form, so Klopp – with few other options to pick from – should start the Dutchman before he drops out on Sunday.

And dare we say there could also be a change in goal thanks to the Reds’ first leg advantage and the opportunity to give Caoimhin Kelleher a break:

  • Adrian starts instead of Kelleher – the Spaniard hasn’t played competitively since 2021
  • Joe Gomez starts at centre-back then shuffles across to right-back when Conor Bradley is withdrawn
  • Koumas will almost certainly come off the bench, with Nunez and Salah both aiming to start against Man United

Here’s how this alternate team would look:

Adrian; Bradley, Quansah, Gomez, Tsimikas; McConnell, Szoboszlai, Clark; Salah, Gakpo, Nunez

The team Liverpool put out will be more than capable of winning against Sparta, but there is a chance that complacency takes hold, among the crowd as well as the players.

Whatever the team Klopp picks, though, the side out there should be putting a shift in as they play for their starting places on Sunday and after the international break.