Klopp's 1,000, Darwin double, Salah returns and more talking points from Prague

AnalysisKlopp's 1,000, Darwin double, Salah returns and more talking points from Prague

By Liverpool FC


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Liverpool took control of their Europa League last-16 clash with Sparta Prague by recording a 5-1 victory in Czechia on Thursday.

Two Darwin Nunez goals and strikes from Alexis Mac Allister, Luis Diaz and Dominik Szoboszlai gave the Reds an emphatic first-leg win, with the hosts on the scoresheet courtesy of Conor Bradley’s own goal.

Here are five things we noticed from the evening’s work for Jürgen Klopp’s men…

Mac Allister makes his mark

It took just six minutes for Liverpool to find the breakthrough in Prague, and it was all Mac Allister’s own work.

The Argentina international was sharper than everyone else on the field as he closed down Sparta defender Asger Sorensen, forcing the Dane to bring him down inside the box.

Mac Allister grabbed the ball himself and, after a lengthy pause, converted the spot-kick clinically, sending goalkeeper Peter Vindahl the wrong way for his third goal of the season, and his first in Europe for the Reds.

By setting up Nunez’s second strike of the night too, the No.10 increased the tally in his last five starts to two goals and four assists.

Darwin hits 50 in style…

Nunez was unable to take his first chance of the night, failing to connect properly with his left-footed effort after Wataru Endo had won the ball back in the second minute.

But the Uruguayan made amends soon enough, doubling Liverpool’s advantage in the 25th minute with an audacious long-range blast.

Collecting a pass from Harvey Elliott on the left, Nunez ignored the run of Diaz outside him, instead stepping infield to fizz a 25-yard strike past a stunned Vindahl in the Sparta goal.

He wasn’t finished there, either, finishing the first half in style with a superbly taken volley across goal, from Mac Allister’s clipped pass into the right channel.

A perfect way to mark his 50th start for the club, and Nunez’s first goal of the night took the Reds to yet another milestone under Klopp too…

…and Klopp reaches 1,000

Liverpool’s second goal in Czechia was the 1,000th scored under Klopp, the landmark arriving during the 476th game of the German’s reign.

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Klopp has taken charge of more European fixtures (88) than any manager in club history, and the Europa League is the only major honour that has eluded him during his time on Merseyside.

He finished his first campaign with the Reds, 2015-16, by taking the team all the way to the final of the competition, where they were beaten by Sevilla in Basel.

Eight years on, and as he prepares to say goodbye to Anfield, he will be looking to go one better.

Kelleher continues his fine form

Another game, another commanding performance from Caoimhin Kelleher in the Liverpool goal.

This was the Republic of Ireland international’s 40th senior outing for the Reds, and he dealt with it the way he’s dealt with most things during his Anfield career – calmly and with bags of quality.

Despite the scoreline, Kelleher was busy enough throughout, making a fine early save to deny Lukas Haraslin and reacting well to tip over the bar after Endo had diverted Angelo Preciado’s header goalwards.

There was a sharp low save from Jan Kuchta before half-time, and a quick backtrack to push Preciado’s ambitious effort behind after the break.

There was no clean sheet, due to Bradley’s misfortune a minute into the second half, but this was another night on which Liverpool’s No.62 could hold his head high.

Salah’s timely return

Mohamed Salah forward
Mohamed Salah
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With Liverpool 4-1 up and 74 minutes on the clock, Klopp was able to welcome his Egyptian King back.

Mohamed Salah, fit again after recovering from a recent injury, replaced Diaz and was straight into the thick of things on the right flank.

And were it not for a very close offside call, the No.11 would have netted his 20th goal of the campaign from Szoboszlai’s pass.

It was just Salah’s third appearance for the Reds in 2024, but his return comes at a perfect time for Klopp, especially ahead of Sunday’s massive Premier League clash against Manchester City at Anfield.

Szoboszlai, too, is back in the swing of things, rounding off the scoring versus Sparta in stoppage time. Good news for Klopp, with more big games to come.



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