Key Liverpool snag revealed as pundit delivers 'near-perfect' Europa League verdict

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Liverpool beat Sparta Prague 5-1 in the first leg of their Europa League knockout tie

Ibrahima Konate's injury was the only negative on what was almost a perfect night for Liverpool at Sparta Prague, says Ally McCoist. Jurgen Klopp's side put one foot into the next round of the Europa League by securing a commanding 5-1 win in the Czech capital ahead of the second leg at Anfield next week.

Alexis Mac Allister got the ball rolling for Liverpool as his sixth minute penalty put the Reds in front and that came before two wonderful efforts from Darwin Nunez. The Uruguayan beat the Sparta keeper with a dipping effort from range before running onto and burying a bouncing ball to put Liverpool 3-0 up at the break.

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A Conor Bradley own goal kick-started the second half, but Luis Diaz and Dominik Szoboszlai did enough to ensure Klopp can make changes for the second leg next week. However, the win came at a price, it seems, with Konate limping out of the action in the second half with what appeared to be a muscle injury, making him an early doubt for Sunday's monumental Premier League clash with Man City at Anfield.

"Look, if we're going to nit-pick, they probably could have and should have conceded more goals, but he'll be delighted," McCoist said while working as a pundit for TNT Sports. "It's a comfortable win, the tie is effectively over, Salah got a bit of action.

"One downside, other than the chances they gave up, I thought was Konate's injury. Apart from that it was just about a perfect night."

He added: "I can almost guarantee he'll be playing a lot of the kids again in the next game [against Sparta Prague]. They have massive games coming up, obviously City at the weekend which is a humdinger of a game.

"But I think the tie is put to bed and it will give them an ideal opportunity to maybe give a couple of youngsters an opportunity, which, as we've seen, he's keen to do."

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