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AC Sparta Praha will look to end a dire recent run of form against English opponents when they take on Liverpool FC in the UEFA Europa League round of 32, with the Reds – under manager Kenny Dalglish – visiting the Czech Republic for only the second time.
• The two teams have yet to meet in European competition.
• This will be Sparta's 15th match against an English side. Their previous 14 produced the record W3 D2 L9 (W2 D1 L4 at home). They have not won – or scored a goal – in their last five home fixtures against English clubs since beating Watford FC 4-0 in a UEFA Cup tie on 7 December 1983. Current Sparta coach Jozef Chovanec scored the first goal in that game.
• Liverpool's only experience of Czech opposition came in the second round of the 2000/01 UEFA Cup, when they beat FC Slovan Liberec 1-0 at Anfield and 3-2 away.
• Sparta are unbeaten in their last three European home outings but drew two of those. They have failed to keep a clean sheet in their four most recent continental fixtures at Stadion Letná.
• This is Sparta's first appearance in the spring phase of a UEFA club competition since they reached the UEFA Champions League round of 16 in 2003/04, when they lost out to AC Milan.
• They last won a springtime European game when they beat FC Porto 2-0 in the second group stage of the 2001/02 UEFA Champions League.
• Liverpool have not lost in five European away encounters this season, but all three of their group stage fixtures on their travels ended in draws.
• Porto's Falcao is the top scorer in this season's UEFA Europa League with seven goals; Sparta's Wilfried Bony is one of five players trailing him by two, along with Tomáš Necid (PFC CSKA Moskva), Giuseppe Rossi (Villarreal CF), Artem Milevskiy (FC Dynamo Kyiv) and Edinson Cavani (SSC Napoli).
• Sparta defender Tomáš Řepka knows English football well, having played for West Ham United FC from 2001 to 2006. The 37-year-old will not look back on his four games against Liverpool fondly, however: his side drew one of them (1-1 at home) and lost the other three.
• Sparta's Marek Matějovský was an unused substitute when Reading FC eliminated Liverpool from the FA Cup third round in 2009, his team prevailing 2-1 after extra time in a replay.
• Liverpool defender Sotiris Kyrgiakos played for Panathinaikos FC when they overcame Sparta 2-0 in Prague and 2-1 at home during the 2001/02 UEFA Champions League second group stage.
• Liverpool have fielded some notable Czech talents in the past, including Vladimír Šmicer, Milan Baroš and former Sparta winger Patrik Berger.
• Dalglish, who has been made Liverpool manager until the end of the season following the departure of Roy Hodgson on 8 January, will be taking charge of his first European game as Reds coach. He had a six-year spell at the Anfield helm between 1985 and 1991 which reaped three English league titles. As a Liverpool player, he won the European Champion Clubs' Cup on three occasions.
• The overall winners will take on the victors in the tie between KKS Lech Poznań and SC Braga in the round of 16 on 10 and 17 March, playing the first leg at home.