Liverpool vs. Sparta Prague: Live Europa League Action
Kenny Dalglish takes charge of Liverpool in a European tie for the first time ever, as his side travels to Prague for the first leg of this last-32 tie.
And for his team selection, he is taking it seriously.
Club captain Steven Gerrard and centre-back Daniel Agger didn't travel to Prague, but Glen Johnson will make his first appearance in the tournament this season.
David Ngog starts up front for the first time under Dalglish, so Dirk Kuyt is likely to start in a slightly deeper role. Raul Meireles has recovered from an illness and retains his starting place.
At the back, Dalglish has once again gone with three centre backs. Jamie Carragher will captain the side, with Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Danny Wilson playing alongside him.
Joe Cole only starts on the bench, where he is joined by Conor Coady. Coady, who was handed the England under-19's captaincy last week, has impressed as a holding midfielder for the reserves this season and can also play as a centre back.
Starting Lineups in Full
Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Wilson, Kyrgiakos, Aurelio, Maxi, Lucas, Kuyt, Meireles, Ngog.
Blazek, Repka, Brabec, Abena, Pamic, Matejovsky, Kusnir, Vacek, Leonard Kweuke, Kadlec, Keric.
Reaction: Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish admits "it wasn't a classic". Can't fault him there. Said that Ngog did "reasonably well". Definetly disagree with that.
Tonight's captain Jamie Carragher said it's a decent result and that Liverpool "need to make sure they do the job" when the return to Anfield. Not much else to say. Not exactly a lot to talk about.
I was impressed with Danny Wilson though, even though he was played out of position tonight. The former Rangers player looks very composed on the ball and could turn out to be the long-term replacement for Jamie Carragher.
I would write a report on the game, but I don't want to have to relieve that 90 minutes so I'll leave it at that. Please comment and we'll see what next Thursday brings.
FULL TIME: SPARTA PRAGUE 0 - 0 LIVERPOOL Well, I'm sure Dalglish will think job done here. That seems to be the way of European football. Go away from home and don't lose. Liverpool will fancy their chances of progressing next Thursday when they return to Anfield and on tonight's showing they shouldn't be too worried about Sparta.
Dalglish should be disappointed, however, that with his side dominating possession they failed to force one save. Ngog failed to take the opportunity that he was given, but he may get another crack next Thursday.
As for Sparta Prague, they did well. They defended sensibly, letting the Liverpool defence have plenty of the ball but nowhere to go with it. At the other end, Reina was forced into a couple of decent stops but they will have their work cut out to get a result at Anfield.
90 Mins + 1: Last substitution for Sparta Prague. Matejovsky is replaced by Pekhart. The 6'5" man comes on just as Sparta have a free kick. But it comes to nothing.
90 Mins: The 90 minutes is up and we've got three minutes of stoppage time to come.
89 Mins: Kadlec, the 18 year old winger, goes off after failing to impress. He's replaced by Martin Zeman.
88 Mins: Skrtel's introduction has seen Liverpool revert to three at the back and Kuyt playing the loan striker's role. No exactly going for it here, Kenny.
86 Mins: Not far away that! Vacek's effort from outside the box has Reina scurrying across his goal, but it goes just wide of the post.
85 Mins: Well that just sums up Joe Cole's night/season. A corner for Liverpool and a chance for them to steal something late on, but Cole's cross goes out of play before coming back in. Oh dear.
83 Mins: Well that's just odd. Liverpool make a change, and it's Skrtel on for Ngog. Slightly defensive that.
80 Mins: Into the last ten minutes and no sign of any further Liverpool chances. Is Kenny happy to take a 0-0 back to Anfield. Joe Cole gets himself a booking for a frustrated looking challenge.
77 Mins: Former England manager Graham Taylor, commenting on the game, has been telling stories of previous trips to Prague when it was "10 times more freezing that it is tonight". I'm no expert, but I'm fairly certain you can't have degrees of freezing. Picky I know, but the football is hardly engrossing.
75 Mins: Good save from Reina. A poor corner from Sparta isn't cleared by the Liverpool defence and Kweuke does well to turn and get an effort on target. Reina goes down to his left and saves well.
73 Mins: Sparta Prague substitution. Former Rangers man Sionko replaces Keric. Pepe Reina has just disappeared in a smoke screen. Most entertainment we've had this evening.
71 Mins: Sparta break quickly following a Liverpool corner but Leonard Kweuke puts the ball high over the bar. Very high over.
69 Mins: Liverpool's best effort of the match. Johnson gets down the right and makes a burst into the box. He stabs at the ball with the outside of his right foot, but it does wide. Might have been better off using his left. We've seen him score with his "weaker" foot before after all.
66 Mins: Again, the killer ball is missing. Decent work gets Maxi the ball in a central position. He has a chance to play Joe Cole in behind the defence but his pass is well over hit. Poor.
64 Mins: Joe Cole has really struggled to get involved this half. It just hasn't worked out for the ex-Chelsea player yet.
60 Mins: The hour mark is up and still the Sparta keeper hasn't had to make a save. Liverpool don't have a game until the second leg of this tie next Thursday so at least we shouldn't see the removal of any of the bigger name players. Then again, any replacement couldn't be worse, could they?
58 Mins: Two decent crosses from Johnson in the space of 60 seconds. His first narrowly alludes Ngog before his second attempt is cleared by a defender. Better from Liverpool.
55 Mins: Repka disputes a decision after he doesn't get a throw-in he thinks he won. The referee tells him to calm down. At 39, I don't think anyone is going to change the way Repka plays the game.
54 Mins: Meireles is having to come deeper and deeper to get the ball, not a great sign for Liverpool. Johnson, who has looked unsure of himself defensively all evening, gets forward again but crosses too close the the Sparta keeper.
50 Mins: Liverpool are starting the second half how they ended the first. Sloppily. If this continues I may well put on the 2005 Champions League Final DVD and talk you all through that!
48 Mins: It seems that the Joe Cole for Aureilo substitution was due to an injury after all. The Brazilian reportedly has a "strain".
47 Mins: Ngog has to start holding the ball up better or else his evening may come to a premature end. With Jovanovic, Pacheco and Coady on the bench, Kuyt could easily be moved into a central role if Ngog is withdrawn.
46 Mins: No further changes at half-time as Sparta Prague re-start the action. Well, hopefully we'll see some action. Please?
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