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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)

Liverpool, Mohamed Salah make history in six-goal Sparta Prague thumping

:Headline: Liverpool, Mohamed Salah make history in six-goal Sparta Prague thumping:
Liverpool score four goals in 14 minutes in a historic 6-1 Europa League last-16 second-leg victory over Sparta Prague, sealing an emphatic 11-2 aggregate win.
Sports Mole

Liverpool scored four goals in 14 minutes during an outrageous attacking performance in their 6-1 Europa League last-16 second-leg victory over Sparta Prague, sealing an emphatic 11-2 aggregate win to stroll into the quarter-finals.

Already boasting a 5-1 advantage from last week's opener, the Reds blew the disjointed Czech champions to smithereens in the opening exchanges, where Darwin Nunez, Bobby Clark, Mohamed Salah and Cody Gakpo eliminated any shred of doubt about the outcome before Veljko Birmancevic wiped out the hosts' clean sheet.

While the second period was unsurprisingly more low-key, further strikes arrived from Dominik Szoboszlai and Gakpo, and the Jurgen Klopp fist pumps were out in full force following an astounding display from his goal-happy troops.

The headline team news from the Liverpool camp was the inclusion of Salah from the first whistle - an eyebrow-raising call from Klopp with Manchester United to come at the weekend - but the Egyptian etched his name into another page of Reds' history during a mind-boggling first 15 minutes.

Any hint of the hosts taking their foot off the gas with a four-goal aggregate lead was quickly extinguished, as with seven minutes gone, Szoboszlai's low delivery from the right found Nunez inside the box, and the Uruguayan's first-time effort - which he partially hit into the ground - rolled into the bottom corner.

Mere seconds had passed before Klopp's crop had the ball in the back of the net for a second time, as Salah intercepted Ladislav Krejci's shocking pass out from the back to Clark, whose first-time strike slipped through Peter Vindahl Jensen's legs and in.

The 19-year-old's effort marked his first senior goal for the Reds, but the teenager could only rejoice in his moment for a couple of minutes before Salah stole his thunder, thanks again to some horrendous defensive play from Sparta Prague.

Jaroslav Zeleny was the culprit this time, and a role reversal from the second goal saw Clark win the ball back from the defender and feed Salah, who was helped by some atrocious positioning from Vindahl Jensen to curl home into the far side of the net.

In doing so, Salah became the first Liverpool player to score at least 20 goals in seven straight seasons across all competitions, and while the Reds were in dreamland, Sparta would not wake up from their nightmare just yet.

Indeed, number four arrived for the rampant Reds in the 14th minute, where another series of defensive catastrophes from the visitors and a slick one-touch sequence between Nunez, Salah and Gakpo ended with the latter firing a low shot into the centre of Vindahl Jensen's net.

Unsurprisingly, Liverpool set a new outright record for the quickest time to go 4-0 up in a Europa League match - timed at 13 minutes and 22 seconds - and Sparta belatedly found a shred of defensive resilience following an on-field huddle.

Klopp's side still remained in the ascendancy and could have hit double figures in terms of the aggregate scoreline in the 36th minute, but Nunez added to his catalogue of misses by firing a sitter over the bar from a few yards out.

The travelling supporters were still in terrific voice despite their side's rotten display, and they did have a consolation to cheer in the 41st minute, when Birmancevic outmuscled Wataru Endo and got a tame shot away, which trickled past Caoimhin Kelleher into the far corner.

However, Liverpool picked up where they left off at the start of the second half and restored their four-goal advantage on the night in the 48th minute, as Szoboszlai's low effort took a wicked deflection off of Krejci and deceived Vindahl Jensen at his near post.

There was little the beleaguered Sparta goalkeeper could have done about the Hungarian's effort, but he was partially at fault for the hosts' sixth in the 55th minute, only managing to punch a Liverpool corner to Conor Bradley on the edge of the box.

The right-back teed up his fellow 20-year-old Harvey Elliott, who let fly with a crisp curling strike 20 yards from goal, which may have been going wide but for an exquisite flick from Gakpo to divert the Englishman's shot into the bottom corner.

The Merseyside mood was ever so slightly blighted by an apparent ankle injury to Clark, but his withdrawal allowed 20-year-old Polish midfielder Mateusz Musialowski to make his first-team debut for Liverpool, whose flying Dutchman Gakpo had a chance for his hat-trick in the 77th minute but was denied by Vindahl Jensen at the near post.

The former PSV Eindhoven man did have the ball in the back of the net for the third time on the stroke of 90 minutes, but the offside flag was correctly raised as Klopp's men declared at six.

Joining West Ham United, Marseille, AC Milan, Benfica, Roma, Atalanta BC and Bayer Leverkusen in the quarter-finals, Liverpool will discover their opponents for the last eight during Friday's 12pm draw, at which point Klopp and co will already be preparing for Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final with Manchester United at Old Trafford. body check tags ::

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