Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will "not hesitate" to field his strongest side for the final Champions League Group E game with Spartak Moscow.

The Reds play Everton in the Merseyside derby on Sunday (14:15 GMT) but need to avoid defeat against Spartak to reach the Champions League's knockout stage.

"We want to go through and we have the chance to do it," said Klopp before Wednesday's European tie at Anfield.

"I don't have to think about the game on Sunday already."

Group leaders Liverpool, who have nine points from five games, have not reached the last 16 of the Champions League since 2008-09.

Spartak, who start the final round of games in third, will secure a place in the knockout stage if they win.

Sevilla, second on eight points, are at bottom-placed NK Maribor (19:45 GMT).

More defensive options for Klopp

Klopp was without several defenders for last Saturday's 5-1 win at Brighton - a result that lifted the Reds up to fourth in the Premier League table.

Joe Gomez (virus) and Joel Matip (injured) were unavailable, Alberto Moreno was rested and Ragnar Klavan (ill) only on the bench - meaning the German fielded an unfamiliar back line in terms of both formation and personnel.

Liverpool lined up with three centre-backs - and one of those was Georginio Wijnaldum, whose reputation was forged as a No.10 in the Netherlands and who was brought to Anfield in July 2016 to score goals from midfield.

Klopp also selected midfielder Emre Can as the right-sided centre-back and handed Scotland left-back Andy Robertson his first Premier League start since 16 September.

However, Gomez and Klavan have both returned to training before Spartak's visit - although Matip is still out.

Liverpool drew 1-1 in Moscow in September and although his side are in good form, Klopp is wary of a more dangerous Spartak side.

"We are stronger than we were when we played them but they are stronger as well, in a good moment in the league.

"They have some very important offensive players back, so it will be an exciting game."
Reds will qualify with a defeat - if Sevilla lose

Simon Gleave, head of analysis at Gracenote Sports, said: "Liverpool's results throughout the Champions League have tended to be misinterpreted by fans in terms of their effect on the club's chance of progress.

"The two wins and two draws achieved in Liverpool's first four matches have barely had an effect on the club's chance of reaching the knockout phase. The Reds can only fail to qualify if they lose at home to Spartak Moscow, and even then they can still progress if Sevilla lose away to NK Maribor."

Match facts

Liverpool are unbeaten against Spartak Moscow in the Champions League (W2 D1), with their last encounter at Anfield ending in a 5-0 win for the Reds in October 2002.
The Reds are unbeaten in their past seven Champions League games - although five of those have ended in a draw.
Spartak have won only six of their past 40 Champions League games (D8 L26). They have also failed to keep a clean sheet in their past 15 outings in the competition.
This is Liverpool's 10th Champions League campaign, and only their second appearance in the group stages in the past eight seasons.
Three of Liverpool's past four Champions League goals have been scored from corner kicks.
Spartak have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League only once in their 11 previous appearances - in 1995-96.
Liverpool's Brazil forward Roberto Firmino has scored five goals and delivered two assists in his five Champions League appearances this season.

Source: BBC


Your e-mail address will not be published.
Required fields are marked*

  This is an error message