Liverpool 5-1 Sparta Prague (Mar 7, 2024) Game Analysis

Liverpool 5-1 Sparta Prague (Mar 7, 2024) Game Analysis

An early penalty by Alexis Mac Allister and a Darwin Núñez brace helped Liverpool to thrash Sparta Prague 5-1 in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie on Thursday.

Liverpool, who qualified for the knockout rounds as group winners, dominated the game and were up 3-0 at the break to edge closer to the quarterfinals.

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After Mac Allister was taken down inside the box, the Argentine gave Liverpool the lead from the spot in the sixth minute. He sent Sparta keeper Peter Jensen the wrong way as he fired into the bottom corner.

Nunez doubled the advantage from a distance in the 25th, squeezing in his shot just under the bar to notch up the 1,000th goal during Juergen Klopp’s tenure.

The Uruguay forward then made it 3-0 in first-half stoppage time after he received a lofted pass from Mac Allister to slot home from the edge of the box.

Liverpool substitute Conor Bradley scored an own goal just after the break but the visitors restored their three-goal lead in the 53rd minute through Luis Díaz.

MICHAL CIZEK/AFP via Getty Images

Substitute Mohamed Salah thought he had extended Liverpool’s lead to 5-1 but his goal was ruled out by VAR for offside.

However, Dominik Szoboszlai added a fifth in injury time.

In the other early kickoff, AS Roma secured a 4-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion. Paulo Dybala opened the scoring in the 12th minute and Romelu Lukaku doubled their lead before the break following a one-on-one with goalkeeper Jason Steele.

Defender Gianluca Mancini made it 3-0 for the hosts in the 64th minute before midfielder Bryan Cristante completed the rout four minutes later with a header.

Runaway Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen came from two goals down to rescue a 2-2 draw at Azerbaijan’s Qarabag with goals from Florian Wirtz and Patrik Schick.

Sporting Lisbon and Atalanta played out a 1-1 draw on Wednesday with forward Gianluca Scamacca scoring before halftime to cancel out Paulinho‘s opener for the Portuguese hosts.

The match took place one day ahead of the Europa League’s Thursday schedule as UEFA safety rules do not permit teams from the same city to host games on the same day. Benfica take on Rangers in Lisbon in a later kickoff.

The second legs will be played on March 14.

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