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Rupert Wyman 23rd Feb 2011 - 10:38

King Kenny on course for first European trophy

Liverpool v Sparta Prague, Thursday 18:00, live on Channel 5

Kenny Dalglish won four European trophies as a player with Liverpool but on Thursday night he continues his quest for a first European success as a manager when the Reds host Sparta Prague in the 2nd leg of the last 32 tie in the Europa League.

The first leg in Prague ended in a 0-0 draw and that makes Liverpool clear favourites to progress. They are 4/11 to win the game and 1/5 to qualify. A draw in the game (7/2) could be costly for Liverpool as the away goals rule could come into play whilst a Sparta Prague win (8/1) would end their European dreams for another season.

Dalglish has seven major honours as a Manager but will be determined to end his European trophy drought and keep up Liverpool's great tradition.  If they can get through this tie they will face either Lech Poznan or Braga in the last sixteen so they are hot favourites to make at least the quarter-finals stage.

Another incentive for Liverpool is that this year's final will be held in Dublin, a place where many Liverpool fans reside and just a short journey for scousers.

Liverpool aren't the only English team in Europa League action on Thursday. Man City also host Aris Salonka. Both teams are expected to win well so as part of our Match Winner special we've enhanced the price on the both to win by two or more goals to a generous 5/2.

Liverpool have been improving since the arrival of Dalglish and are undefeated in seven matches and once they get Suarez and Caroll playing together as an established pair they're likely to become a force to be reckoned with.

Suarez is ineligible for this game due to the fact he played in Europe for Ajax earlier in the season whilst Caroll is still recovering from an injury so Kuyt (4/1 to score first)  and Ngog (7/2) are likely to lead the line against Prague.

Raul Meireles has scored some crucial goals of late including the winner at Stamford Bridge. He is 6/1 to opening the scoring at Anfield and 8/1 to score two or more.

Steven Gerrard (5/1 to score first) and Daniel Agger (16/1) both missed the trips to Prague but should be fit to return and those two should give the Reds the cutting edge to get through the tie.

Sparta Prague don't have the best of records against English sides, winning just three of their fourteen meetings. In the last six of those games they've only scored one goal, it's 4/6 that Liverpool win to nil.

Liverpool are unbeaten in their 10 Europa League games this season, although the Reds have drawn four of their last five, with three of those draws ending goalless. It's 8/1 for another 0-0 scoreline which would lead to extra-time and a possibly penalty shoot-out.It's 33/1 progress on penalties, 40/1 Sparta Prague.

I think Liverpool will win well and should keep up their end of the bargain in the Match Winner bet of both them and City to win by two or more goals at 5/2. I would go for a 3-0 win for Liverpool at odds of 15/2 and Liverpool (-1) at 15/4.

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