Liverpool vs Sparta Prague Half-Time Update
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Liverpool vs Sparta Prague Half-Time Update

Liverpool's Raúl Meireles

 

Anfield is jam-packed to the rafters for Sparta Prague’s visit in the Europa League tonight, and the home fans have had plenty to shout and sing about in the first half, despite the 0-0 scoreline.

A lively start for both sides saw an early handball penalty claim by the home side - the officials dismissing Manuel Pamic’s misjudgement as accidental.

Liverpool are looking for just their third win in this year’s Europa League competition, and they had another effort just before the ten minute mark; a darting run by in-form right-back Martin Kelly saw a low cross land at the feet of Raúl Meireles, but his shot was off target.

Meireles and Kelly linked up again on 23 minutes, with an even closer effort – Kelly again surged down the right, his cross was met on the half-volley by the Portuguese midfielder, but his effort was narrowly over.

Ngog has two chances to put Liverpool ahead as well; his best effort was after 36 minutes, though the shot which was aimed straight at the goalkeeper was palmed away.

Liverpool were not the only side having decent chances early on - Sparta’s positivity almost came to fruition early in the first-half; a cross from the Prague right was met on the volley by Vaclav Kadlec, but his shot disappeared over Pepe Reina’s bar.

Liverpool interim manager Kenny Dalglish made four changes from the team that visited Prague last week, with Joe Cole starting his first game under Liverpool’s iconic figurehead. Joining Cole in the starting line-up are Martin Kelly, Daniel Agger and Christian Poulsen. Glen Johnson has a tendon complaint, therefore hasn’t been included, whilst Maxi Rodriguez and Jamie Carragher are warming the bench.

As expected Steven Gerrard is still not considered match-fit. Instead Meireles, who has an impressive five goals in Liverpool’s last six matches, is featuring as the attack-minded midfielder.

Prague, lining up in a 4-1-4-1 formation, have made one change from the first leg; Libor Sionko coming in for Andrej Keric.

Liverpool are unbeaten in nine home European games, and remain favourites to progress here.

 

Liverpool: Reina, Kelly, Kyrgiakos, Wilson, Agger, Poulsen, Lucas, Cole, Meireles, Kuyt, Ngog

Substitutes: Gulacsi, Carragher, Skrtel, Maxi, Spearing, Pacheco, Jovanovic

Sparta Prague: Blazek, Repka, Kusnir, Brabec, Pamic, Sionko, Matejovsky, Vacek, Abena, Kweuke, Kadlec

Substitutes: Zitka, Kladrubsky, Husek, Podany, Zeman, Keric, Pekhart

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