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Europa League | Round of 16 | 2nd Leg
Mar 14, 2024 at 8pm UK
Anfield

Liverpool
6 - 1
Sparta Prague

Nunez (7'), Clark (8'), Salah (10'), Gakpo (14', 55'), Szoboszlai (48')
Klopp (65'), Quansah (65')
FT(HT: 4-1)

Jurgen Klopp: 'Mohamed Salah is ready to start against Sparta Prague'

:Headline: Jurgen Klopp: 'Mohamed Salah is ready to start against Sparta Prague':
Jurgen Klopp says that Mohamed Salah is ready to start for Liverpool against Sparta Prague on Thursday night but suggests that the attacker will not play the full 90.
Sports Mole

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has affirmed that Mohamed Salah is "ready" to return to the first XI for Thursday's Europa League last-16 second leg with Sparta Prague, but he has hinted that the winger will not be completing the full 90 minutes at Anfield.

Owing to the Africa Cup of Nations, a hamstring injury and a muscular problem, Salah has not started a game for Liverpool since their 4-2 Premier League win over Newcastle United on New Year's Day.

The 31-year-old firstly damaged his hamstring during the AFCON but came back with a bang against Brentford on February 17, scoring one and setting up another after replacing the injured Diogo Jota in the first half.

However, Salah's comeback was an extremely brief one, as he was revealed to have suffered a muscular problem in that 4-1 win at the Gtech Community Stadium and was forced to miss the EFL Cup final as a result.

The Egyptian's latest issue was not as severe, though, and he came off the bench in last week's 5-1 first-leg victory over Sparta before also appearing as a second-half substitute in the weekend's 1-1 draw with Manchester City in the Premier League.

Salah's omission from the starting lineup against the treble winners raised a few eyebrows, but Klopp insisted that the decision not to take a risk over the 31-year-old's fitness was not a complicated one.

Egypt have reluctantly left Salah out of their squad for the upcoming international break, but speaking to reporters in Wednesday's press conference, Klopp confirmed that the winger would be in contention to make the first XI on Thursday.

However, the German has stressed the need to err on the side of caution with the ex-Chelsea and Roma man, and with Liverpool boasting a four-goal aggregate lead, it would be a surprise to see Salah risked from the off at Anfield.

"It's important that we build up Mo, obviously super-important, but in this game changing at half-time was not necessary or possible [because] we have to deal with changes carefully," Klopp said.

"So, yeah, he is ready. He is top fit, everything is good now and we don't have to deal with these kind of things anymore. I'm not sure if he is ready for 90 minutes and I'm not sure we should do 90 minutes, but he's ready to start so that's how it is.

"He would have been ready to start in the last game but then you don't know for how long it makes sense and that's always the problem when players come back. I can't remember a game where I thought, 'Mo Salah cannot play, no problem.'

"It just never happened, so it's not cool to not have him but there was a game last Sunday and there are 10 more Premier League games and hopefully a lot more cup and European games. They are all as important and Mo was completely fine with that.

"Would he have loved to play a little bit longer? Probably, yes, but I cannot before the game decide when we do what and these kind of things. But he's ready to start.

"Should that then be 90 minutes on the pitch? That depends on how it looks in that moment but we all know Mo usually can play game after game after game after game. Now he was out for a surprisingly long time, but now he is back and we have to make sure that we can really count on him consistently again."

Salah had a second-half goal controversially ruled out for offside in last week's first leg, where Darwin Nunez struck twice alongside efforts from Alexis Mac Allister, Luis Diaz and Dominik Szoboszlai.

Ryan Gravenberch (ankle) also trained on Wednesday, but Ibrahima Konate (thigh), Ben Doak (knee), Joel Matip (knee), Alisson Becker (thigh), Trent Alexander-Arnold (knee), Curtis Jones (shin), Thiago Alcantara (muscle), Stefan Bajcetic (calf) and Jota (knee) are still out, while Jayden Danns is doubtful due to a concussion. body check tags ::

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