Europa League

February 17, 2011


Sparta Prague

0 - 0


Europa League

20:05 +00:00, February 17, 2011

AXA Arena, Czech Republic

Referee: Florian Meyer

  • 93'

    That's all we've got time for folks, I'm off for a good night's sleep and hopefully I will awake with my faith restored in football. Make sure you join us this weekend for all of the FA Cup action, starting with Chelsea v Everton on Saturday.

  • 93'

    FULL-TIME: Sparta 0-0 Liverpool. We clearly didn't cross our fingers tightly enough for goals and I'm only sorry that we can never get those 93 minutes of our lives back. Efforts from Matejovsky and Vacek were the best of the second period, but it was a game that offered very little, particularly from Liverpool. A conservative team selection from Dalglish brought three shots, of which none were on target. That says it all really.

  • 93'

    It's all over. Thank goodness.

  • 92'

    Pekhart on for Matejovsky

  • 92'

    About 30 seconds to go. Then it will all finally be over.

  • 91'

    Sparta free-kick now, Kweuke was fouled by Lucas.

  • 90'

    Maxi wins a free-kick in midfield, I think that was Repka who brought him down. Shocking, I know.

  • 90'

    Three minutes of smoke-time added.

  • 89'

    Kadlec has had a decent game, Sparta should be disappointed that Pamic hasn't been on the ball a little more often in the second half.

  • 88'

    Zeman on for Kadlec

  • 87'

    Sparta just keeping the ball at the moment, they certainly could do with a goal more than the Reds, Anfield is an extremely difficult place to visit on European nights.

  • 86'

    Skrtel brings Liverpool out of defence, maybe Dalglish is hoping his Slovakian defender will harness his passionate dislike for his nation's Czech rivals and score some sort of wondergoal.

  • 84'

    Kusnir accelerates down the right, he passes it inside to Vacek who unleashes a fierce effort that dips just past the left-hand post. That was pretty close.

  • 83'

    Nope, he didn't make me eat my words, Blazek punched it clear.

  • 83'

    Johnson with another great run and Liverpool have a corner. Skrtel to score?

  • 82'

    I know, I don't believe it either. Dalglish must be wanting to preserve that lead. Oh wait...

  • 82'

    Skrtel on for Ngog.

  • 81'

    Prepare yourselves folks, there's an attacking sub to come for Liverpool...

  • 80'

    A dangerous effort from Matejovski with the outside of his boot from about 20 yards out. It curled just wide of Reina's post and conjured memories of his wonder-strike against Liverpool in the FA Cup a couple of years back.

  • 80'

    Cole booked for pulling back Abena.

  • 79'

    Now Kuyt gives the ball away, neither side seem to want it.

  • 78'

    Excellent run by Kladec but Johnson does this dispossessing this time.

  • 77'

    It's not been a particularly effective tactic thus far, though, and they are dispossessed.

  • 76'

    Wilson and Carragher exchange passes as Liverpool look to build from the back.

  • 75'

    Fantastic save from Reina. Kweuke showed a great predatory instinct to turn from 10 yards out and direct a shot goalwards, but Reina was up to the test.

  • 74'

    Well it's still fairly difficult to see the pitch but the game has resumed and Sparta have a corner.

  • 73'

    Sionko boasts bags of experience, having played all around Europe. Whether his 34-year-old legs could make a difference, I'm not too sure.

  • 72'

    The pitch is currently engulfed in smoke thanks to a flare going off near Pepe Reina's goal. He's now as invisible as Maxi has been all game.

  • 72'

    Sionko on for Keric

  • 71'

    Liverpool in need of a substitution methinks. I'm here if you're desperate Kenny!

  • 70'

    Kladec crosses towards Kweuke, who controls it impressively but tries an outrageous acrobatic effort that goes high over Reina's bar. This guy needs to watch Trevor Sinclair's technique.

  • 69'

    Liverpool corner, cleared though and Sparta on the counter attack.

  • 68'

    He again did well to create the space, but it was again a poor end product.

  • 68'

    Johnson tries to curl one in with the outside of his right boot, but without any curl, it looked like a rather disappointing effort as it sailed wide.

  • 67'

    Repka blocks off Ngog in what looked like a blatant foul, but the ref wasn't interested. He's not the only one showing disinterest tonight.

  • 66'

    Thunderous challenge from Maxi, I just can't believe I've mentioned his name twice in two minutes.

  • 65'

    Ngog engineers soem space on the left side of the box, he does a couple of pointless stepovers and looks for Rodriguez with the cross. But the Argentina winger manages to get nowhere near it.

  • 64'

    But Kyrgiakos does superbly to cut him off, excellent defending.

  • 63'

    Joe Cole attempts to inject some life into the Liverpool attack, but Matejovski breaks at pace as the crowd begins to roar...

  • 62'

    I'm sure this game probably wouldn't be half as bad if I was surrounded by fellow fans, huddled around some pints of Staropramen. Unfortunately I'm not.

  • 61'

    Good header from a stooped position by Kweuke from Vacek's right-wing cross. But the effort is wide of Reina's goal.

  • 60'

    Maxi Rodriguez has been completely anonymous today and the one time he was in some space, he also appeared invisible to Kuyt, who opted not to pass to him.

  • 59'

    Vacek strikes one but it is deflected to safety again.

  • 58'

    Johnson hangs a cross up towards the six-yard line, but Ngog is eased away from the ball. I reckon Suarez would have made a better fist of that.

  • 57'

    Liverpool continuing to knock it around pretty well but there is little progress.

  • 56'

    Wow, I didn't think it would be possible for this game to get much worse but it is incredibly boring. My eyes are hurting just watching it.

  • 55'

    Repka kicks up a fuss when the assistant gives a throw-in to Liverpool, if I was that assistant I would sleep with one eye open.

  • 54'

    Johnson with a twinkle-toed dribble down the right, but once again the final ball is not good enough and Blazek collects with ease.

  • 52'

    Lovely touch from Kweuke to Keric but Kyrgiakos is again well positioned to intercept.

  • 51'

    Stats: Liverpool's only encounter with Czech opposition came in the 2000/01 UEFA Cup when they beat Slovan Liberec 4-3 on aggregate.

  • 50'

    The noise levels increasing in Prague, but Liverpool beginning to take control of possession as they did at the start of the first half.

  • 49'

    Lucas palms Matejovski off the ball and Sparta have the free-kick, though it is taken quickly and given away immediately.

  • 48'

    Kyrgiakos wins a free-kick. He has looked pretty solid tonight, for Kyrgiakos that is.

  • 48'

    Lovely Cruyff-turn from Meireles to open up some space, he did not see anywhere near enough of the ball in the first half.

  • 47'

    No changes at half-time, the introduction of Joe Cole for Aurelio before the interval has been the only one so far.

  • 46'

    More of a rugby kick from Sparta to open the half, a long diagonal ball deep into Liverpool territory.

  • 45'

    We're off...

  • 45'

    Right, we're almost ready for the second half - keep those fingers crossed for some goals!

  • 45'

    Former Liverpool owner Tom Hicks claimed last year''s sale of the Reds was an "epic swindle", but he was today denied the chance to take legal acion against the club, much to the delight of those at Anfield.

  • 45'

    Glen Johnson battles for possession in the first half against Sparta Prague

  • 45'

  • 45'

    In the Europa League's other games, Rangers are drawing 0-0 with Sporting, Lille are beating PSV 2-0 and Zenit St Petersburg are 1-0 up at Young Boys. For all the live updates and chat, join Tom McGowan.

  • 45'

    HALF-TIME: Sparta 0-0 Liverpool. Well, it's not been great. Sparta have looked more dangerous, though Liverpool have had their moments. No clear cut opportunities for either side really and here's hoping for a much more entertaining second 45 minutes.

  • 45'

    There goes the half-time whistle...

  • 44'

    Reina required to burst out of goal and he has hoofed it to safety to stop a potentially dangerous situation from unfolding.

  • 43'

    Repka again doing his best brick wall impression to prevent Kuyt getting anywhere near the ball.

  • 42'

    Meireles swings it in and Kuyt flung out a leg but it drifts wide of Blazek's right post.

  • 42'

    Liverpool corner now.

  • 41'

    A fantastic cross from the right towards Kweuke and he gets a toe on the ball but Kyrgiakos is in to make an impressive last-ditch challenge.

  • 41'

    Lucas plays the ball towards Ngog, but Repka is in ahead of him. The 37-year-old is hardly oozing with pace, but he certainly hasn't lost any strength.

  • 39'

    Ngog was also booked for that altercation. Not sure he did an awful lot wrong though.

  • 39'

    Repka unsurprisingly getting himself involved, he gave Ngog a solid shoulder barge and then stood up to the Frenchman.

  • 38'

    Repka booked for a tangle with Ngog.

  • 37'

    I'm not sure if it was a tactical switch as Aurelio headed straight down the tunnel.

  • 37'

    Cole makes an immediate impact with an incisive through-ball to Ngog. The French striker swings a boot at it, but Repka blocks.

  • 36'

    Joe Cole on for Aurelio.

  • 35'

    Matejovski's shot blocked bravely by Kyrgiakos from about 15 yards out, Sparta looking dangerous.

  • 34'

    Reina flaps at a cross and the ball falls to Pamic, but the Sparta left-back scoops his shot high over the bar.

  • 33'

    Sparta are currently in second place in the Gambrinus Liga, four points behind table-toppers Viktoria Plzen.

  • 32'

    Liverpool started so brightly but Sparta have definitely had more attacking intent for most of the first half.

  • 31'

    This is a dog of a match so far, I'm feeling thoroughly uninspired by the football I have seen unfold.

  • 30'

    Kuyt gives it away just outside the Liverpool penalty area and Matejovski gets beyond him, pokes the ball past Lucas and then sees his shot saved by Reina.

  • 29'

    Good strength from Kweuke to hold off Kyrgiakos but his ball towards Kadlec is intercepted by Carragher.

  • 28'

    Aurelio's shot is dragged harmlessly wide.

  • 27'

    A fearless run sees him breeze past Aurelio before he is pulled back. The referee not interested in his fall on the edge of the box.

  • 26'

    Kuyt again dwells on the ball a little too long and Sparta have it back with Kusnir.

  • 25'

    Kuyt has a chance to break for Liverpool. Maxi Rodriguez has no-one withing 30 yards of him on the left but the ball goes right instead. Kuyt gets it back and finally looks left but the opportunity is gone and the diagonal pass is just rubbish.

  • 23'

    Sparta manager Jozef Chovanec had his head in his hands after that pass, Pamic was in acres of space.

  • 23'

    Repka tries to slide in Pamic but he's smashed the ball with all the finesse of a man who has had 18 red cards in his career.

  • 22'

    Headed clear, the standard of crossing has been really poor so far.

  • 21'

    Pamic has shown no restraint in getting himself upfield so far and is causing Johnson some bother, but it's Liverpool with a free-kick from the right wing now.

  • 19'

    Johnson with an excellent forward run again, he takes a step inside onto his left foot but is closed down.

  • 18'

    On second look, it was probably heading wide, but Reina still had to make sure.

  • 18'

    Martin Abena with some great hold up play to set up Pamic on the overlap. He hit it sweetly from the left-side of the area but Reina was able to palm it away.

  • 17'

    Cracking save by Reina!

  • 16'

    Good delivery but it's a couple of inches above Kweuke's head. He was unmarked in the box too.

  • 15'

    Strong run by Pamic and it's a Sparta corner.

  • 15'

    Stats: Tomas Repka has been sent off 18 times in his career. I told you he was a bit of a hard nut.

  • 14'

    Corner for Liverpool won by Ngog, but not for the first time in this game, the dlivery is really poor.

  • 13'

    Andrej Keric released by Kweuke down the right wing and he turns on the burners before firing in a cross. But it's out for another goal-kick.

  • 11'

    Aurelio picks up the ball 25 yards out after being gifted the ball by Repka, he disguises a pass towards Kuyt but Sparta clear their lines.

  • 10'

    Johnson with a marauding run down the right and he gets the ball to the byline but his cross is out for a goal-kick.

  • 9'

    Tomas Repka is the Sparta Prague captain; the veteran centre-back has played in Serie A with Fiorentina and the Premier League with West Ham. One thing we've learnt is that he's pretty hard.

  • 8'

    Sparta just starting to build a bit of momentum after a poor opening.

  • 7'

    Kweuke flashes a shot past Reina's left post. A fairly optimistic effort from about 20 yards out.

  • 6'

    There's a really intimidating atmosphere at the Generali Arena for European games from my personal experience of watching Sparta on the continent.

  • 6'

    His shot was pretty poor anyway and wouldn't have troubled Reina one bit!

  • 5'

    Kadlec escapes the clutches of Carragher but he's offside.

  • 5'

    Good exchange between Matejowski and Kadlec down the Liverpool left again; Sparta are having some joy down that flank.

  • 4'

    Free-kick from about 40 yards out and Aurelio floats one in but it's beyond Kyrgiakos and out for a goal-kick.

  • 3'

    Liverpool really keeping the ball with ease and the home fans at the Generali Arena are beginning to get frustrated with their side.

  • 2'

    Impressive burst of pace from the Czech striker.

  • 1'

    A good burst down the left from Kadlec but Johnson tracks him well.

  • 1'

    This is of course Kenny Dalglish's first ever European game in charge of Liverpool. History in the making.

  • 1'

    Liverpool keeping the ball early on, plenty of early touches for the Reds defenders.


    And we're off...


    The players are out on the pitch and we're close to kick-off now in Prague.



    Kuyt and Ngog lead the line for Liverpool, and Meireles plays again - looking to add to his impressive record of five goals in six games.


    All the talk before the game has been about Liverpool's teen prodigy Raheem Sterling, but he has not been included in the matchday squad. And to think the 16-year-old could have been at home playing X-box with his mates in the school holidays!


    Hello all and welcome to live text commentary of Liverpool's visit to Sparta Prague in the Europa League.


    Live comments will appear here from 1945 GMT.


    Raheem Sterling could become Liverpool's youngest ever player if he makes an appearance against Sparta Prague tonight. Kenny Dalglish says he will be sensible in his use of the 16-year-old though.