Liverpool and Spartak set for Anfield showdown

Liverpool and Spartak Moskva face a fraught finale to Group E at Anfield, with the home side needing a point to progress while only a win will do for their Russian visitors.

Action from the game in Moscow on matchday two
Action from the game in Moscow on matchday two ©AFP/Getty Images

It is all to play for at Anfield on matchday six when Liverpool FC and FC Spartak Moskva meet with a place in the round of 16 on the line.

• Liverpool lead the way in Group E with nine points, one more than Sevilla FC – who conclude their campaign away to bottom side NK Maribor – and three ahead of Spartak, who drew 1-1 with the Reds in Russia on matchday two.

A draw would therefore be enough for the home team, who will finish first in the section with a win or with a draw if Sevilla fail to win. If Liverpool lose they are out unless Sevilla are also defeated as Liverpool, who let slip a 3-0 half-time lead to draw 3-3 in Spain last time out, would be below Spartak in a two-way head-to-head or would be third in a three-way head-to-head on nine points.

• Spartak will be through with a win or third with any other result. If Spartak win they will finish top unless Sevilla also win.

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 line-ups at Anfield on 2 October 2002 were:
Liverpool: Dudek, Henchoz (Traoré 67), Carragher, Hyypiä, Riise, Hamann, Murphy, Gerrard (Diao 76), Cheyrou (Diouf 82), Heskey, Owen.
Spartak: Cherchesov, Kovtun (Abramidze 63), Kebe, Beschastnykh, Kalynychenko, Koudriashov (Marcello Silva 50), Danishevski, Pavlenko, Mitreski, Khlestov (Bezrodny 26), Moisés.

• 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 would lose all six games – while Liverpool also failed to progress after coming third in Group B.

• That was in contrast to the teams' meeting in the 1992/93 European Cup Winners' Cup second round, when Spartak advanced 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

• That defeat by Spartak – in what was their first encounter with Russian opponents – is Liverpool's only home loss against a club from that country; their record is W3 D2 L1. Most recently they drew 1-1 at home to FC Rubin in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League group stage (also winning 1-0 away). 

• Jürgen Klopp's side have picked up four points at home in this season's competition, drawing 2-2 with Sevilla before a 3-0 scalp of Maribor

• Before being held by Sevilla, Liverpool's previous six European games at Anfield had produced a home win. They are unbeaten in their last 12 European home matches (W8 D4), since a 3-0 loss to Real Madrid CF on 22 October 2014.

• 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 bidding 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 play-off aggregate victory over TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, winning 2-1 away and 4-2 at home.

• Spartak have not won away in Europe since a 1-0 success at AFC Ajax in their 2010/11 UEFA Europa League round of 16 first leg. Their record since reads D5 L5.

• Including that 1992 victory at Anfield, Spartak have won on four of their nine trips to England (D1 L4), most recently a 1-0 triumph at Blackburn Rovers FC in the 1995/96 group stage. Their away record since then is D1 L4; their last trip brought a 4-1 defeat at Chelsea FC in the 2010/11 group stage. 

• The Russian club are yet to win away in Group E, however, opening with a 1-1 draw at Maribor before a 2-1 reverse at Sevilla on matchday four.

• A 5-1 home win against Sevilla on matchday three halted Spartak's nine-game run without a victory in European fixtures, home and away, since a 2-1 success over SL Benfica on 23 October 2012. Their record since then was D4 L5.

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

• 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.

Coach and player links
• 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:
Georginio Wijnaldum & Quincy Promes (Netherlands)
Dejan Lovren & Mario Pašalić (Croatia)
Marko Grujić & Marko Petković (Serbia)
Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino & Fernando, Luiz Adriano (Brazil)

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

Match facts

• Emre Can and Alberto Moreno will face a ban with their next booking.

• Liverpool have scored three goals or more in seven of their last eight games (W6 D2). They won 5-1 at Brighton and Hove Albion FC on Saturday.

• Mohamed Salah has scored 17 goals in 22 games for Liverpool, already more than any Reds player has managed in an entire campaign since Luis Suárez struck 31 times in 2013/14.

• Salah has scored 11 goals in his last ten matches for Liverpool.

• Liverpool are unbeaten in 12 home games in all competitions (W7 D5).

• Of the 19 top-flight goals that Liverpool have conceded this season, 17 have come away from home.

• Liverpool are two points worse off than they were at this stage last season, when they were third with 31 points.

• Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mané are on the 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d'Or. The winner will be announced on 7 December.

• Dejan Lovren (back) and Can (muscular injury) both returned from injuries against Brighton.

• Adam Lallana made his first appearance for Liverpool this season in the 1-1 draw with Chelsea FC on 25 November following a thigh injury. Nathaniel Clyne (back) is yet to feature this season.

• Georgi Dzhikiya returns from suspension.

• Spartak's matchday four reverse at Sevilla FC is their only defeat in 19 matches in all competitions.

• Spartak are on a 12-match unbeaten run in the league (W7) and have won the last four.

• Quincy Promes has eight goals in the Russian Premier League while Luiz Adriano (seven) has struck four times in his last four domestic matches.

• Aleksandr Samedov played his first game since 17 October, scoring in the 3-1 win against FC Zenit on 27 November.

• Dmitri Kombarov will not be available on matchday six after suffering a broken rib against Zenit.

• Jano Ananidze, Artem Timofeev and Georgi Tigiev are still sidelined.