Liverpool will travel to Russia on Tuesday to face Spartak Moscow at the Otkrytiye Arena in a Champions League Group E clash.
Liverpool will return to Champions League action on Tuesday as they prepare to face Spartak Moscow in a Group E clash. After beating Leicester City, Jurgen Klopp’s side will be confident after having managed to end a win-less streak which stretched to four games across all competitions.
The Merseyside club met Spartak in the group stages of the Champions League back in 2002/03 and emerged victorious both home and away. Going into this fixture, Liverpool do boast of a lethal attack but struggle when it comes to defending.
The Russian hosts, meanwhile, have won just three of their previous 11 domestic league games this season and drew their Group E opener 1-1 with Maribor earlier this month. The numbers seem to be tipping the scales in Liverpool’s favour but let’s take a closer look at both teams ahead of the exciting match.
Team News & Tactics
Left back Georgi Tigiev and midfield duo Artem Timofeev and Roman Zobnin are all sidelined with cruciate ligament ruptures, but besides that, the home side have no injury concerns. In fact, they will be looking to bring in a full-strength squad to face Liverpool.
Facing a squad with a strong attack like Liverpool’s can seem daunting but the club will feel just a bit confident about their chances on Tuesday. Spartak’s attacking ability has been excellent at home this season – the club recorded ten goals in their last five home fixtures.
A key player in their attack has been Luiz Adriano, and he will be looking to exploit the visitors’ defence. Ragnar Klavan has been one of the weakest players in the Reds’ backline, and if Adriano can get himself one-on-one with the Liverpool defender, there is no reason why Spartak can’t score an early goal or two.
Predicted lineup (4-3-3): Rebrov; Eschenko, Tasci, Bocchetti, Kombarov; Ananidze, Popov, Melgarejo; Bakaev, Promes, Adriano.
Liverpool will have to do without the services of Joe Gomez, who was sent off late on in the draw against Sevilla in their previous group clash. Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne continue to be absent as they nurse long-term injuries, but the Reds will be boosted by the fact that Sadio Mane is in line to make an appearance.
Klopp’s men have been lethal going forward and chief playmaker Philippe Coutinho is gradually getting his groove back. However, they still look relatively weak at the back. They might manage a victory on Tuesday but as they progress further in the Champions League, it will only cause further problems.
Teams comparatively smaller than Spartak Moscow have been able to exploit their back line with glee during Klopp’s reign and that could be the difference between them finishing first and second in this group. As far as tomorrow’s game is concerned, if Coutinho, Firmino, Mane and Salah click, they can give the home side a tough time.
Predicted lineup (4-3-3): Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Lovren, Milner; Can, Coutinho, Henderson; Mane, Firmino, Salah.
- Spartak Moscow and Liverpool’s only previous Champions League encounter was in the 2002-03 first group stage, wherein Liverpool won both games 8-1 on aggregate.
- The Russian club has scored at least two goals in 80% of their home games this season, whilst Liverpool have conceded two or more in 80% of their trips away.
- Liverpool have won only one of their past seven away games in the Champions League.
- This is Liverpool’s 10th Champions League campaign, and only their second appearance in the group stages in the past eight seasons.
Player To Watch
Fresh after serving a domestic ban that saw him miss out on quite an amount of action, Sadio Mane will be ready and raring to go. Liverpool’s attack in general is quite dangerous, which will only be further accentuated by Mane’s presence.
Spartak’s defence has been quite weak and that can present Mane with the perfect opportunity to score and make up for lost time. It will be interesting to see how the Senegalese forward fares against an experienced defender like Tasci. However, if Mane can get going, Liverpool will have very little to worry about.
Spartak Moscow 2 – 3 Liverpool
Undoubtedly, Spartak will register a goal or two against Liverpool but the Reds’ attack is unlikely to let them down especially since the home side do not boast of a strong defence. Mane’s return will definitely solidify Liverpool’s chances in Russia.
The pace possessed by the Ox, Sturridge and Mane could cause them a whole set of new problems, and Liverpool’s firepower will be just too much. Hence, a Liverpool victory seems on the cards but make no mistake, the game will certainly be a high-scoring one.