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Spartak Moskva and Liverpool search for Group E lift-off

It has been honours even in the four previous meetings between Spartak Moskva and Liverpool, with both sides now eager to pick up a first victory in Group E.

Michael Owen got a hat-trick on Liverpool's last visit to Spartak
Michael Owen got a hat-trick on Liverpool's last visit to Spartak ©Getty Images

History suggests there is every chance of a positive result when FC Spartak Moskva welcome Liverpool FC to Russia – there has been a winner in all four of their previous matches.

• Both sides were held to draws on matchday one, Spartak being pegged back by a late NK Maribor goal as it finished 1-1 in Slovenia. Liverpool were held 2-2 at home by Sevilla FC, meaning all four Group E teams have one point heading into the second round of fixtures.

Previous meetings
• Liverpool had the upper hand when these clubs were paired together in the 2002/03 first group stage, winning 5-0 at home thanks to two goals from Emile Heskey and one each for Bruno Cheyrou, Sami Hyypiä and substitute Salif Diao.

• The English side also prevailed 3-1 in Moscow, recovering from Aleksandr Danishevski's opener to take the points courtesy of a Michael Owen hat-trick. That matchday four result confirmed Spartak's elimination – they went on to lose all six games – while Liverpool also failed to make it through after coming third in Group B.

• The line-ups at the Dinamo Stadium on 22 October 2002 were:
Spartak: Levitsky, Kovtun (Kebe 36), Beschastnykh, Kalynychenko, Danishevski, Bezrodny, Pavlenko, Mitreski (Koudriashov 82), Sonin (Torbinski 60), Abramidze, Khlestov.
Liverpool: Dudek, Traoré, Carragher, Hyypiä, Riise, Hamann, Diao, Murphy, Heskey (Vignal 56; Bišćan 76), Baroš (Diouf 70), Owen.

• That was in contrast to the teams' meeting in the 1992/93 European Cup Winners' Cup second round, when Spartak went through 6-2 on aggregate. Valery Karpin struck twice in a 4-2 first-leg home win, before unanswered goals in the last half-hour at Anfield from Dmitri Radchenko and Andrei Piatnitsky sealed Spartak's progress.

Match background

Spartak Moskva
• Spartak's most recent experience of English opposition came in 2010/11, when they lost home (0-2) and away (1-4) to Chelsea FC in the group stage.

• That made their overall record against English clubs W9 D2 L6; at home, it reads W5 D1 L2.

• This is Spartak's 12th group stage campaign, and their first since 2012/13 when they came fourth in a section also including FC Barcelona, SL Benfica and Celtic FC. They have not graced the last 16 since 2000/01, when they got to the second group stage.

• On each of their last two group stage appearances, in 2010/11 and 2012/13, Spartak lost two home games and won the other.

• Spartak have lost their last three European home matches, and four of the last five. They have won only four of their last 17 home games, losing 11.

• The Moscow club qualified automatically for the group stage by lifting their 22nd league title in 2016/17. Last term, their European campaign ended at the first hurdle, with defeat by AEK Larnaca FC in the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round.

• Spartak are without a win in their last eight European fixtures, home and away, since a 2-1 victory over Benfica on 23 October 2012. Their record since then is D3 L5.

• The Reds were victorious on their last visit to Russia, a 1-0 success at FC Rubin Kazan in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League group stage that extended an unbeaten run against Russian opponents to three matches (W2 D1).

• Their away record against Russian clubs reads W3 D0 L3.

• Five-time European champions Liverpool did not take part in UEFA competition in 2016/17, when they finished fourth in the Premier League. They are aiming to reach the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds for the first time since 2008/09.

• The Reds earned their place in the group stage – for the tenth time overall – with a 6-3 aggregate play-off victory over TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, winning 2-1 away and 4-2 at home.

• Liverpool have won just two of their last 13 European away games (D6 L5). Before triumphing at Hoffenheim in the play-off first leg, their last away victory had been that win at Rubin on 5 November 2015.

Coach and player links
• Jürgen Klopp was in charge of the Borussia Dortmund team that beat FC Zenit 5-4 on aggregate in the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League round of 16 (4-2 away, 1-2 home).

• James Milner's goal helped Manchester City FC to a 2-2 draw at PFC CSKA Moskva in the 2014/15 group stage.

• Simon Mignolet was in goal for Belgium in a 3-3 friendly draw away to Russia in March 2017. Dmitri Kombarov, Denis Glushakov, Aleksandr Samedov and Roman Zobnin played for the hosts in Sochi.

• Emre Can was part of Germany's victorious 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup squad in Russia.

• International team-mates:
Quincy Promes & Georginio Wijnaldum (Netherlands)
Mario Pašalić & Dejan Lovren (Croatia)
Marko Petković & Marko Grujić (Serbia)
Fernando, Luiz Adriano & Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino (Brazil)

• Petković and Grujić were also team-mates at FK Crvena zvezda between 2013 and 2016.

Match facts

Spartak Moskva
• Spartak have won only one of their last six league fixtures.

• Only FC Anji (25), who held Spartak to a 2-2 draw on Saturday, have conceded more goals in the Russian Premier League this season than Spartak (17).

• Promes scored twice as Spartak triumphed 2-0 at FC Kuban Krasnodar in the Russian Cup round of 32 on 20 September.

• Georgi Tigiev was ruled out until the end of the year after injuring his right knee in the 2-2 draw against FC Tosno three days earlier.

• Denis Glushakov and Dmitri Kombarov signed contract extensions until the summer of 2020 on 21 September.

• Joe Gomez serves a one-game ban following his red card against Sevilla.

• Prior to Saturday's 3-2 success at Leicester City FC, Liverpool had gone four matches without a win in all competitions (D2 L2). Sadio Mané served the final instalment of his three-match domestic ban against Leicester.

• After scoring the Reds' opener on Saturday, Mohamed Salah has six goals in his first nine Liverpool appearances.

• Coutinho made his first start of the season, for club or country, against Burnley and was involved from the off again three days later as a much-changed side lost 2-0 at Leicester in the English League Cup third round. He scored his first of the season against the same opponents on Saturday.