Neil Atkinson’s post-match review for The Anfield Wrap after Liverpool v Sparta Prague in the Europa League last 16 at Anfield…


Too much too soon. And we don’t need a long review for this one.

It was an overwhelming opening from Liverpool which left the game, Sparta Prague and my attention span in tatters.
It became the procession you expected not long after but it was a staggering display of firepower combined with Sparta playing into Liverpool’s hands.
Everyone who you would have wanted to see score, scored. That matters and is genuinely of use. Nothing breeds confidence in front of goals as much as goals.
Counter-intuitively though I hate a full shellacking because I feel like you waste the goals you want to have had saved up, throw them away when they could come in handy next time out.
It’s football – it doesn’t have to be rational.
The substitution moves were fascinating, who when and why and what does that suggest for Sunday? Mo Salah gets the duration by accident, Dominik Szoboszlai by design whereas Wataru Endo, Joe Gomez and Darwin Nuñez get themselves looked after.
All three were good but Nuñez was great. He was extravagantly present again. Cody Gakpo gets a solid brace and is willing to go and go, carrying a load. There was more Harvey Elliott than I expected – e.g. some. But he is enjoying himself.
And that’s the thing about this team at the minute. They are enjoying themselves. The manager is getting himself booked, going to all hands in the crowd and having a ball. The only shame is the competition isn’t the big one because we’d be third favourites for that.
As it is we are the side no one wants tomorrow, but that isn’t entirely true either counter-intuitively. Because we’re the party. We’re the big show, the big test, we’re the night out, the ride. I’d love to get us.
The Sparta crowd enjoyed themselves and I hope they are enjoying the city now. I would be were I them. Prague, Prague’s good. But Liverpool. Drink it in.
Instead we move on, Mancunian tests on the horizon before a break and then a big, big push. The season is vibrating, about to explode.


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