PLAYER RATINGS: Darwin Nunez nets two of his best goals for Liverpool, while Caoimhin Kelleher continues to deputise well for Alisson… but who made an impression from the bench for all the wrong reasons in 5-1 win?
EuropaLeague

PLAYER RATINGS: Darwin Nunez nets two of his best goals for Liverpool, while Caoimhin Kelleher continues to deputise well for Alisson… but who made an impression from the bench for all the wrong reasons in 5-1 win?

Mar 22, 2024

Liverpool put one foot firmly into the quarter-finals of the Europa League with a 5-1 win over Sparta Prague on Thursday night.  

Goals from Alexis Mac Allister and Darwin Nunez had the visitors 2-0 up inside 25 minutes, and although their Czech hosts troubled Caoimhin Kelleher’s net on occasion the Reds looked set to took their two-goal lead into the break. 

But Nunez was not quite done, lashing home a thunderous half-volley from the edge of the box to make it three with the 1,001st goal of the Jurgen Klopp era as the Reds raced into a commanding position in the tie. 

There was to be no hat-trick with the Uruguayan subbed off on 51 minutes, and the Reds steered their way through a tricky start to the second half, but Luis Diaz struck back soon after Conor Bradley’s own goal, before Dominik Szoboszlai struck late to make it 5-1.

Here, Mail Sport takes you through who had had an evening to remember for the Reds, and who failed to truly catch Klopp’s eye ahead of Sunday’s clash with Man City.  

Strikes from Alexis Mac Allister and Darwin Nunez had put the Reds 3-0 up by the halfway mark

Nunez bagged a fantastic brace on the night

Strikes from Alexis Mac Allister and Darwin Nunez had put the Reds 3-0 up by the halfway mark

Jurgen Klopp's side put one foot in the quarter-finals with a 5-1 win over Sparta Prague

Jurgen Klopp’s side put one foot in the quarter-finals with a 5-1 win over Sparta Prague

LIVERPOOL (4-3-3) 

Caoimhin Kelleher – 7

Formed one part of a certain goal-saving duo with one of his defenders in the first 15 minutes of the game as he began the game as he has continued to fill in for Alisson; alert and poised. 

Joe Gomez – 6

After the stopper kept the initial shot out, Gomez was acrobatic with his clearance off the line to keep the visitors’ one-goal lead. Off at the break, though, which will raise concerns ahead of Sunday’s titanic clash with Man City.

Ibrahima Konate – 6

Subbed off immediately after Conor Bradley’s own goal but for fitness reasons rather than performance problems. The defender was relatively solid at the heart of defence in an open first half, his athleticism proving useful for the visitors. 

Jarell Quansah – 6

After his seventh start alongside Konate at centre back came to an end he earned an 11th appearance sharing defensive duties with Virgil van Dijk. Dealt well with the threat of Victor Olatunji after the forward’s late introduction.

Andy Robertson – 6

The Scot took the armband in the first half on his Europa League debut in the absence of regular skipper Van Dijk from the start and partly-led the visitors to victory in a tricky environment for the first half while fulfilling all the duties required of him at left back. 

Caoimhin Kelleher remained bright when called upon early in the game and made a number of strong stops

Harvey Elliott – 6.5

A quietly unspectacular yet solid performance from Elliott in the Czech capital. Assisted Luis Diaz’s second half goal after reading a deflection well.  

Wataru Endo – 7

Quietly went about his business at the base of the Liverpool midfield, ensuring things ticked over at the rate Klopp required on a tricky away trip.  

Alexis Mac Allister – 7.5

Kept his cool and composure when it mattered to convert from the spot after a lengthy delay. Bossed the midfield in the first half, before being substituted as testament to his growing importance on this Reds side ahead of Sunday.

Darwin Nunez – 8

The Uruguayan forward marked his 50th start for Liverpool in style with a wonderful moment of individual brilliance for the second goal. 

That was the Red’s 1000th goal under Klopp, and he was quick to add the 1,001st with a fantastic half-volley on the stroke of half-time. He was denied a hat-trick by a 50th-minute substitution into one of his best Liverpool games.

Mac Allister converted well from the spot inside just six minutes after a lengthy delay

Mac Allister converted well from the spot inside just six minutes after a lengthy delay 

Nunez had one of the best games in his Liverpool career with two stunners on his 50th start

Nunez had one of the best games in his Liverpool career with two stunners on his 50th start

Cody Gakpo – 6

Had a snapshot on the turn well saved before the break as the Dutchman looked sharp up front.

Luis Diaz – 7.5

Restored the three-goal lead at a point where the game could quickly go the other way for Liverpool, though he got fortunate with the deflection for his third goal in five games in the competition. 

Jurgen Klopp – 7

Shuffled his pack well enough to prevent any further fitness problems, but questions were raised by substitutions for Gomez and Konate. Whatever he said at half-time perhaps didn’t have the desired impact, but quickly introduced Van Dijk to quell the storm.  

Subs:

Conor Bradley for Joe Gomez (45′) – 5

The Young defender had been a revelation at Liverpool since his emergence earlier this season, and he made almost as exceptional impression on this game with a fantastic finish with his first touch – only it was into the roof of his own net. 

Conor Bradley managed to make his mark on the game within seconds of coming on but at the wrong end of the pitch

Conor Bradley managed to make his mark on the game within seconds of coming on but at the wrong end of the pitch

Virgil van Dijk for Ibrahima Konate (50′) – 6

Brought his trademark calm to the backline after the concession of the hosts’ goal and ensured that his team-mates reclaimed their composure with the game at an important junction.  

Dominik Szoboszlai for Darwin Nunez (51′) – 7

Introduced for his industriousness and energy in the middle of the park as the hosts threatened to take control, and managed to quieten the Sparta Prague resistance to good effect before adding the Reds’ fifth of the night in added time.

Bobby Clark for Alexis Mac Allister (64′) – 6.5

Mohamed Salah for Luis Diaz (74′) – 6

Subs unused: Adrian, Tsimikas, Gordon, McConnell, Koumas, Musialowski, Mrozek 

Dominik Szoboszlai came off the bench to good effect before scoring the fifth goal in added time

SPARTA PRAGUE (4-3-3) 

Peter Vindahl – 5

Asger Sorensen – 5 (Matej Rynes 43, 6) 

Martin Vitik – 5

Ladislav Krejci – 5

Angelo Preciado – 7

Markus Solbakken – 6.5

Kaan Kairinen – 6 (Adam Karabec 74 – 6)

Angelo Preciado (pictured) was one of the two standout performers for the hosts on Thursday

 Angelo Preciado (pictured) was one of the two standout performers for the hosts on Thursday

Veljko Birmancevic was bright in attack for Sparta PRague before being hooked in the 74th minute

Veljko Birmancevic was bright in attack for Sparta PRague before being hooked in the 74th minute

Jaroslav Zeleny – 6

Veljko Birmancevic – 7 (Indrit Tuci 74 – 6)

Jan Kuchta – 6 (Victor Olatunji 74 -6)

Lukas Haraslin – 6.5 (Qazim Lacin – 6)

source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *