Sparta Prague 1-5 Liverpool: Darwin Nunez scores twice as Reds win Europa League first-leg tie

Liverpool's players celebrate a goal against Sparta Prague in the Europa League
Liverpool, who have already won the EFL Cup, remain on course for a Premier League, Europa League and FA Cup quadruple

Liverpool will go into Sunday’s huge Premier League game with Manchester City on the back of a seventh straight win after taking control of their Europa League last-16 tie against Sparta Prague.

The Reds were at their ruthless best in the first leg, scoring three goals before half-time to silence the home fans on a chaotic night in the Czech Republic capital.

They took the lead through Alexis Mac Allister’s sixth-minute penalty after the Argentina World Cup winner had been fouled by Asger Sorensen.

Darwin Nunez’s wonderful dipping finish from outside the penalty area doubled the lead – Liverpool’s 1,000th goal under boss Jurgen Klopp – before the Uruguay forward’s 16th club goal of the season, a fierce shot from the edge of the box, made it 3-0 in first-half added time.

Despite the handsome margin, Liverpool were thankful for Caoimhin Kelleher who once again underlined his importance to the team in the absence of injured first-choice keeper Alisson Becker.

Kelleher made a string of crucial saves including one at 1-0 when he took the sting out of Lukas Haraslin’s shot which saw the ball spin towards the net before Joe Gomez hooked it off the line.

Sparta Prague reduced the deficit when Reds substitute Conor Bradley scored an own goal with his first touch in the 46th minute while trying to make a clearance, only for Luis Diaz to restore his side’s three-goal advantage with a deflected finish seven minutes later.

Substitute Dominik Szoboszlai scored the fifth goal with virtually the last kick.

Liverpool, who saw Mohamed Salah return from a hamstring injury as a 74th-minute substitute and have a goal ruled out for offside, will be confident of finishing the job and advancing to the quarter-finals when the teams meet for the second leg at Anfield on 14 March (20:00 GMT).

Before that, Klopp’s men host defending champions Manchester City in a first-versus-second showdown at Anfield.

But it remains to be seen whether Ibrahima Konate, who has been in fine form lately, will feature. The France defender was replaced soon after going down hurt in the second half, while Gomez did not show for the second half either.

More to follow.

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Sparta Prague

  1. Squad number1Player nameVindahl

  2. Squad number41Player nameVitík

  3. Squad number25Player nameSørensen

  4. Squad number37Player nameKrejcí

  5. Squad number2Player namePreciado

  6. Squad number4Player nameSolbakken

  7. Squad number6Player nameKairinen

  8. Squad number30Player nameZeleny

  9. Squad number14Player nameBirmancevic

  10. Squad number9Player nameKuchta

  11. Squad number22Player nameHaraslín

  1. Squad number7Player nameOlatunji

  2. Squad number10Player nameKarabec

  3. Squad number11Player nameTuci

  4. Squad number20Player nameLaçi

  5. Squad number32Player nameRynes


Sparta Prague

Formation 3-4-3

  • 1Vindahl
  • 41Vitík
  • 25SørensenSubstituted forRynesat 43′minutes
  • 37KrejcíBooked at 62mins
  • 2Preciado
  • 4Solbakken
  • 6KairinenSubstituted forKarabecat 74′minutes
  • 30ZelenyBooked at 73mins
  • 14BirmancevicSubstituted forTuciat 74′minutes
  • 9KuchtaSubstituted forOlatunjiat 74′minutes
  • 22HaraslínSubstituted forLaçiat 65′minutes


  • 7Olatunji
  • 10Karabec
  • 11Tuci
  • 18Sadílek
  • 19Mejdr
  • 20Laçi
  • 24Vorel
  • 26Vydra
  • 28Wiesner
  • 29Sevcík
  • 32Rynes
  • 44Surovcík


Formation 4-3-3

  • 62Kelleher
  • 2GomezSubstituted forBradleyat 45′minutes
  • 5KonatéSubstituted forvan Dijkat 50′minutes
  • 78Quansah
  • 26Robertson
  • 19Elliott
  • 3Endo
  • 10Mac AllisterSubstituted forClarkat 65′minutes
  • 18Gakpo
  • 9NúñezSubstituted forSzoboszlaiat 51′minutes
  • 7DíazSubstituted forSalahat 74′minutes


  • 4van Dijk
  • 8Szoboszlai
  • 11Salah
  • 13Adrián
  • 21Tsimikas
  • 42Clark
  • 49Gordon
  • 53McConnell
  • 67Koumas
  • 84Bradley
  • 92Musialowski
  • 93Mrozek

José María Sánchez Martínez

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Source: BBC News

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