Preview: Liverpool v Spartak Moscow
Liverpool need victory against Spartak Moscow at Anfield in their final Group E clash on Wednesday to guarantee top spot and a place in the knockout stages.
6 December 2017
UEFA Champions League
Matchday 6 Group E
Kick-off: 21:45 local time
Referee: S. Marciniak
Assistants: P. Sokolnicki, T. Listkiewicz
Fourth official: R. Siejka
TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS
Liverpool 5 2 1 2
Spartak CP 5 2 1 2
Ready for tomorrow 🔴🔴 pic.twitter.com/qwXf1A7MzA
— Georginio Wijnaldum (@GWijnaldum) December 5, 2017
Spartak Moscow 1-1 Liverpool – 26/09/2017 (UEFA Champions League)
Spartak Moscow goalscorers: Fernando (23')
Liverpool goalscorers: P. Coutinho (31')
Players to watch:
Mohamed Salah continues to rip defences apart, with 16 goals to his name in 20 appearances across all competitions for the Reds this season.
Surprisingly, the Egypt international did not get on the scoresheet in the 5-1 thrashing of Brighton on Saturday, although he provided an assist for Roberto Firmino's second goal at the Amex Stadium.
Seven players have chipped in with goals for Spartak in the EUFA Champions League, but Quincy Promes (eight) and Luiz Adriano (seven) have done the bulk of the scoring in the league.
Promes will be eager to get back amongst the goals in midweek after failing to find the back of the net in his last two outings against Maribor and Zenit.
Team form and manager quotes:
The Reds have lost just once in all competitions since they were held to a 1-1 draw by the People's Team in Moscow on matchday 2.
That defeat came at Tottenham (4-1) and Jurgen Klopp's side have embarked on an eight-match unbeaten run following their disappointment at Wembley.
The big win over the Seagulls saw the Merseysiders climb above Arsenal into fourth position, although they are still a massive 14 points of the Premier League summit after 15 games.
Liverpool hold a one-point lead over Sevilla in the group, while Spartak a further two adrift in third spot, and with Eduardo Berizzo's team expected to Maribor, the English giants will be targeting nothing less than a win against the Russian champions.
"This is THE game. We are only part of the Champions League because we want to go to the next round," Klopp said in his pre-match press conference on Tuesday.
"All the good and bad things that have happened so far have got us to this situation. If we win the game, that's cool! I'm really looking forward to it.
"I think we are stronger than when we played them last, but I think they are as well. They have players back, so it should be an exciting game."
Spartak are also on a fine run of form coming into the Anfield encounter, having not lost in the Russian Premier League since August 19.
The 2-1 reverse to Sevilla on matchday 4 is their only defeat in 12 matches since the visit of the Reds in September.
Вот здесь нашим дублерам предстоит завтра провести матч Юношеской лиги УЕФА #ЛиверпульСпартак 🏟️#UYL #UEFAYouthLeague #LiverpoolSpartak pic.twitter.com/1oLQfSI3rc
— FC Spartak Moscow (@fcsm_official) December 5, 2017
Klopp welcomes back Joe Gomez and Ragnar Klavan, but Adam Lallana misses out once again.
Gomez sat out the trip to the Amex Stadium with a virus, while Klavan was named amongst the substitutes after illness sidelined him for the 3-0 win at Stoke.
Lallana, meanwhile, hasn't played since making his first appearance of the season in the 1-1 draw with Chelsea last month.
Joel Matip (muscle), Marko Grujic (finger) and Nathaniel Clyne (back) remain unavailable for the hosts.
For visiting manager Massimo Carrera, his injury problems have eased since the reverse fixture, with Georgi Tigiev (ruptured cruciate ligament) and Jano Ananidze (ankle) the only long-term absentees.
The duo are joined on the sidelines by Dmitri Kombarov, who suffered a broken rib in the 3-1 win over Zenit last week.