Mohamed Salah hits a new milestone as Liverpool smashes their way into the Europa League quarters

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Mohamed Salah once again made history at Liverpool on Thursday. He scored his 20th goal of the season against Sparta Prague. It makes it the seventh successive season he has reached the milestone, and it is also the first time such has been done by a Liverpool side in their 132-year history.

3 weeks ago
After the epic 1-1 draw to Manchester City on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp’s team welcomed Sparta Prague for the 2nd League of the Europa League Round of 16. The Mysierside club already had the advantage. The match was already virtually guaranteed by a dominant Liverpool display in the previous game in Prague that ended in a 5-1 victory for Jurgen Klopp’s side away from home. The team began where they left off at Anfield, dominating throughout the game and leaving little space for error while capitalizing on those of their opponent. By the 15th minute, Liverpool already won the tie with an eight-goal difference and extended their lead in the second half to seal a 6-1 victory (11-2 on aggregate) at Anfield.
After receiving a low through pass from Dominik Szoboszlai, Darwin Nunez, who scored twice against Sparta Prague in the 1st Leg, opened the scoring for Liverpool just four minutes into the match, with a low strike from 16 yards out which beat Peter Vindahl Jensen at his near post. It would be the Uraguarian’s ninth goal in eleven games for Liverpool.
19-year-old Bobby Clark scored Liverpool’s second of the night, marking his first goal for the club in just his fourth start for Liverpool, thanks to an assist from Mohammed Salah. Jurgen Klopp’s men went three goals up in the space of two minutes after the second. Bobby Clark repaid the favor by winning a crucial ball from Sparta Prague’s defensive error, letting Salah take over the ball in a quick transition before sending Peter Vindahl Jensen the wrong way with a clinical strike. Four minutes later, Mohamed Salah got his second assist by setting up Dutchman Cody Gakpo for Liverpool’s fourth goal.
Liverpool is now only the second team in a major UEFA competition in history to score four goals in the first 14 minutes, a feat held by Chelsea in the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1971/1972 against Jeunesse Hautcharage.
After the fourth goal went in, Sparta Pague’s captain, Ladislav Krejci, whose mistake had led to Bobby Clark’s goal called a crisis meeting in the middle of the pitch. It seemed to have worked as there was a massive improvement in their defences to keep Liverpool from scoring more goals in the first half. A long pass from Angelo Preciado beat Wataru Endo and found Velijko Birmancevic, who put the ball into the back of the net for Sparta’s only goal in the match in the 42nd minute. Birmancevic lost many chances in the first leg that could have edged his team closer in score coming into this tie. He capitalized on the opportunity and showed great resilience to hold off Wataru Endo and poke a shot past Liverpool’s shot-stopper Caoimhin Kelleher.
Darwin Nunez, Endo, and Joe Gomez were substituted for Harvey Elliott, James McConnell, and Kostas Tsimikas respectively, at the beginning of the second half. The energy of the Liverpool fans was fulfilling and heard all over Anfield. Dominik Szoboszlai’s near post dive just three minutes into the second half, took a deflection off Sparta’s captain Ladislav Krejci on the way in to return Liverpool’s four-goal difference on the night, and eight in aggregate.
Cody Gakpo got his second goal and Liverpool’s sixth seven minutes later, taking his tally to 13 this season. He got a little backheel to Harvey Elliott’s strike from outside the box, leading the ball to the back of the net. The Netherland International had his chance to get a hat trick but blasted the ball over the goalpost with only the goalkeeper to beat. He thought he got his hat trick later only to be denied by the Offside flag. Sparta’s defense improved after the sixth goal, and Peter Vindahl Jensen denied Gakpo and Elliott’s attempts to keep the scores at 6-1.
It was a nightmare for Sparta Prague and their fans who have traveled and turned up in their masses to support the team. Brian Priske’s men haven been eliminated would return to the drawing board to save their season, having only won one of their last five matches. The Czech champions have conceived 15 goals in their last three games, including a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Viktoria Plzen last weekend in the domestic league. They still retain the top spot with just a point above second-place rivals Slavia Prague. They will return to the Czech Republic to focus on the League title and a Champions League spot next season.
Mohamed Salah reminded the fans at Anfield just how important his presence in the squad is. He played in his first 90 minutes since this Year’s opening match on January 1st. The Eygiptian had previously suffered a hamstring injury while at the African Cup of Nations, with both the tournament and injury keeping him short of action this year. Salah now seems fit to help Liverpool keep competing on a higher level, with the Premier League title, FA Cup, and Europa League up for grabs, to add to their victory in the Carabao Cup finals against Chelsea last month. Notably, Liverpool has scored 117 goals in 45 matches, with Jurgen Klopp’s preferred front three (Mohammed Salah, Darwin Nunez, and Luis Diaz) sharing 48 goals between them.
Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final match against Manchester United at Old Trafford will be a decisive game in Liverpool’s chase for a domestic tremble. The team is determined to deliver Jurgen Klopp a befitting end to his career as Liverpool’s head coach. If anything, the game against the Czech Champions has provided the confidence the team needs ahead of their trip to Manchester. They now look to capitalize on opportunities with a United team that has kept only four clean sheets this season, including a goalless draw against Liverpool in December, when they became the only team to hold them from scoring in 55 matches.
Everton vs. Liverpool Sunday 31st March (Premier League) - (Postponed due to Fixture Clash)
Liverpool vs. Brighton and Hove Albion (Premier League) Sunday 31st March - Kickoff at 14:00
Liverpool vs. Sheffield United (Premier League)Thursday 4th April - Kickoff at 19:30
Manchester United vs. Liverpool (Premier League) Sunday 7th April - Kickoff at 15:30
Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace (Premier League) Sunday 14th April - Kickoff at 14:00
Fulham vs. Liverpool (Premier League) Saturday 20th April - Kickoff at 15:00
West Ham United vs. Liverpool (Premier League) Saturday 27th April - Kickoff at 15:00
Liverpool vs. Tottenham Hotspur (Premier League) Saturday 4th May - Kickoff at 15:00
Aston Villa vs. Liverpool (Premier League) Saturday 11th May - Kickoff at 15:00
Liverpool vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers (Premier League) Sunday 19th May - Kickoff at 16:00
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