Having scored five of the nine goals Liverpool’s youth team put past Southend in the F.A. Youth Cup, Raheem Sterling heads a list of young Liverpool players joining the first-team squad as they travel to Sparta Prague for the Europa League final-32 first-leg tie. Sterling is accompanied on the trip by fellow youngsters Tom Ince, John Flanagan, Conor Coady and Jack Robinson, underlining the wealth of talent which bubbles below the surface in Liverpool’s academy.
The 9-0 annihilation takes Liverpool into the quarter-finals of the competition and earned the praise of Kenny Dalglish. “It is fantastic for Raheem to be involved, as it is for the other lads,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “We want to make sure that they feel part and parcel of the club and they are here because they deserve to be.”
Sparta in bullish mood.
Sparta Prague captain Thomas Repka has predicted that his team are capable of beating Liverpool in their Europa League contest tonight.
The former Fiorentina and West Ham United hard man proclaimed that Liverpool are no longer the intimidating force they once were and that this loss of their aura of invincibility makes them eminently beatable, he told skysports.com.
“Our young players won’t be overawed,” he predicted. “Although there is some respect for the opposition – which they have earned – I don’t think there is too much time for much humility or being scared.” Although Sparta Prague start as underdogs, Repka still believes that matching Liverpool’s “organisation of play, resistance and fighting spirit” will stand his teammates in good stead.