Sparta aim for Anfield upset

Sparta Prague manager Jozef Chovanec believes his side are the underdogs ahead of Thursday’s Europa League second-leg tie against Liverpool.

The game is finely poised after a 0-0 draw in Prague last Thursday, with the second leg at Anfield to decide which club progresses to the final 16 to play either Polish club Lech Poznan or Portuguese outfit Sporting Braga.

Chovanec said his side can play ugly football if it means getting past the Reds, but conceded Kenny Dalglish’s side had the upper hand with the home advantage.

“Of course I’m not going to get into the tactics of the match before tomorrow but we base our experience on our last game in Liverpool,” Chovanec said.

“The priority is to win. The final result is still open to both sides. It’s not about playing beautiful football but getting through and getting the result and the chance is still there, but of course Liverpool are still the favourites.”

Midfielder Marek Matejovsky, who scored at Anfield for former side Reading in the English Premier League in March 2008, said his side were bracing themselves for a vocal Liverpool crowd but remained hopeful they could upset the locals.

“We all know that the atmosphere here (at Anfield) is usually great, I don’t know if it’s the best – but it is loud and we’ll see tomorrow,” Matejovsky said.

“Of course I’d like to score but the most important is to fulfil our hope of getting through and that’s the most important aspect of the match tomorrow.”