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Sparta make maiden Anfield trip

Published: Friday 18 February 2011, 0.45CET
Liverpool FC host Czech opposition for just the second time as AC Sparta Praha visit in the UEFA Europa League round of 32, with honours even following a goalless draw in Prague last week.
Sparta make maiden Anfield trip
Liverpool came top of Group K ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

LiverpoolSparta Praha

Goals scored9
 
12
Attempts on target43
 
48
Attempts off target56
 
49
Corners45
 
36
Offsides45
 
17
Fouls committed132
 
141
Yellow cards18
 
19
Red cards0
 
0

Media Services

Standings

 
Published: Friday 18 February 2011, 0.45CET

Sparta make maiden Anfield trip

Liverpool FC host Czech opposition for just the second time as AC Sparta Praha visit in the UEFA Europa League round of 32, with honours even following a goalless draw in Prague last week.

Liverpool FC host Czech opposition for just the second time as AC Sparta Praha visit in the UEFA Europa League round of 32, with honours even following a goalless draw in Prague last week.

• Despite the game efforts of right-backs Ondřej Kušnír and Glen Johnson to inject spark up the flanks, neither goalkeeper was frequently tested in the first leg. Sparta and Liverpool appeared to be coming to terms to life without departed spearheads Wilfried Bony and Fernando Torres, but nevertheless both remain in contention.

Previous meetings
• This is the clubs' first tie in European competition.

• Liverpool's only previous experience of Czech opposition came in the second round of the 2000/01 UEFA Cup, where they beat FC Slovan Liberec 1-0 at Anfield and 3-2 away.

• Sparta's record against English sides reads W3 D3 L9. They have now not won – or scored a goal – in their last six home games against English sides since beating Watford FC 4-0 in a UEFA Cup tie on 7 December 1983. Current Sparta coach Jozef Chovanec scored the opener in that match.

• Their record in England is W1 D1 L5. They are without a win in five games on English soil since beating Watford 3-2 on 23 November 1983; a match which also featured Chovanec. Ominously, Sparta have lost their last three games in England by three-goal margins.

Match background
• Liverpool are unbeaten in nine European games at Anfield since losing 2-1 to ACF Fiorentina in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League group stage.

• Liverpool have not lost in six European away games this season, but four of those fixtures ended in draws.

• Sparta are unbeaten in their last four European home games, but drew three of those. Prior to the first leg, they had failed to keep a clean sheet in their last four continental fixtures at the Letná Stadium.

• This is Sparta's first appearance in the spring phase of a UEFA club competition since they reached the UEFA Champions League round of 16 in 2003/04, losing out to AC Milan.

• Sparta last won a springtime European game when they beat FC Porto 2-0 in the second group stage of the 2001/02 UEFA Champions League.

Team facts
• FC Porto's Falcao remains the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League's top scorer with seven goals. PFC CSKA Moskva's Tomáš Necid is his nearest rival on six goals. Sevilla FC's Frédéric Kanouté and KKS Lech Poznań's Artjoms Rudņevs joined former Sparta striker Bony, Giuseppi Rossi of Villarreal CF, FC Dynamo Kyiv's Artem Milevskiy and SSC Napoli's Edinson Cavani on five goals with strikes in the first legs of the round of 32 ties.

• Liverpool defender Sotiris Kyrgiakos played for Panathinaikos FC as they won 2-0 against Sparta in Prague and 2-1 at home in the 2001/02 UEFA Champions League second group stage.

• Liverpool have fielded some notable Czech talents in the past; Vladimír Šmicer, Milan Baroš and former Sparta winger Patrik Berger.

• Sparta's Erich Brabec celebrates his 34th birthday on the day of the Liverpool game.

• Kenny Dalglish, who has been made Liverpool manager until the end of the season following the departure of Roy Hodgson on 8 January, will be taking charge of his first European home game as Reds coach. He had a six-year spell at the Anfield helm between 1985 and 1991 which reaped three English league titles. As a Liverpool player, he won the European Champion Clubs' Cup on three occasions.

• Sparta defender Tomáš Řepka knows English football well, having played for West Ham United FC from 2001 to 2006. 'Super Tom' would not remember his four games against Liverpool fondly, though; his side drew one of them (1-1 at home) and lost the other three.

• Sparta's Marek Matějovský was an unused substitute as Reading FC eliminated Liverpool from the 2009 FA Cup third round with a 2-1 win after extra time in a replay.

• The overall winners will take on the victors in the tie between KKS Lech Poznań and SC Braga in the round of 16 on 10 and 17 March, playing the first leg at home.

Last updated: 22/02/11 13.58CET

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