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Europa League last-16 previews: Liverpool vs Sparta, West Ham vs Freiburg & Brighton vs Roma

Liverpool, West Ham and Brighton & Hove Albion are all in action in the Europa League on Thursday night. We preview their games here…

Liverpool, West Ham United and Brighton & Hove Albion are the three Premier League clubs that managed to secure their place in the Europa League group stage this season and all of those clubs reached the knockout round by finishing at the top of their respective groups.

It was hoped that all three of the English clubs would go deep into this competition this season – which would increase the chance for the fifth-placed Premier League team to qualify for the Champions League next campaign.

However, only Liverpool managed to win their first-leg game, while Brighton and West Ham lost their fixtures with the Seagulls highly unlikely to reach the next round of this competition.

The Merseyside club thrashed Sparta Praha 5-1 in the first leg at Generali Arena and they have all but secured their place in the quarter-finals. However, Brighton were rinsed by AS Roma in the first leg and it’s highly unlikely that Roberto De Zerbi’s side will be able to turn the 4-0 deficit around in the second leg, although they will be at home.

West Ham have been drawn to play against Freiburg in this round. They were in the same group – where the Hammers won both the games but Freiburg came up on top in the first leg. David Moyes’ side will now have to overcome a 1-0 deficit in the second leg at home to reach the next round of this competition.

How to watch

The West Ham vs Freiburg game will kick off at 5:45 PM UK time and the match will be televised live on TNT Sports, while the other two games will begin at 8 PM UK time and the match will be televised live on the same channel.

Match going fans can buy tickets for the games through the official club channels or via trusted online resellers such as seatsnet.com.

Liverpool vs Sparta Praha

Liverpool will take on the Czech Republic side at Anfield on Thursday evening after drawing against Manchester City in the previous game in the Premier League.

The Merseyside club have been in a title race and they were at the top of the table over the last few months. But, following their recent result, Jurgen Klopp’s side have dropped down to second place on goal difference.

Liverpool have been in great form this season and they are the heavy favourite to win against Sparta Praha on Thursday. Klopp’s side have been unbeaten at home this season so it will be a huge miracle if the Czech Republic side manage to overcome the 5-1 deficit and reach the next round of this competition.

On the other hand, Sparta Praha have been winless in their last three games in all competitions. So, they might lack confidence ahead of this fixture and therefore, it is almost impossible for them to beat Liverpool in this fixture.

Team news

Although the Reds have continued to perform at their best, they have struggled with several injury problems in recent times. Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alisson, Diogo Jota, Ryan Gravenbech, Curtis Jones, Joel Matip and Thiago Alcantara are all set to remain sidelined with their respective issues in this encounter.

In addition, Mohamed Salah has just returned from his injury problems and hasn’t played a full game yet but, he could start on Thursday.

So, due to the recent injury problems, Klopp doesn’t have many options available at his disposal to rotate his squad, but despite that, the German boss is expected to shuffle his pack in this game, considering they will face off against Manchester United in the quarter-final of the F.A Cup next Sunday.

As for Sparta Praha, they will be without Asger Sorensen and Andreas Vindheim due to injury problems, but Ladislav Krejci is available for selection in this European encounter, although he picked up a red card in the last domestic game.

Brighton vs Roma

Brighton enjoyed a promising start to this season, but they have struggled in recent times, losing three of the last five games in all competitions. But, they will be coming into this fixture off the back of a confidence-boosting win against Nottingham Forest in the Premier League.

The Seagulls have enjoyed a promising time at home, losing only two games in all competitions so far this season. So, they will be hoping to showcase the unimaginable on Thursday by taking advantage of the home support.

However, Roma have been in excellent form in recent times following the departure of Jose Mourinho. Daniele De Rossi has completely transformed the Giallorossi, losing only one out of 11 games in all competitions.

Team news

Brighton have struggled with several injury problems throughout this season and they will be without a few key players for this fixture. Kaoru Mitoma, Joao Pedro, James Milner, Solly March and Jack Hinshelwood are all set to remain sidelined owing to their respective problems.

As for Roma, they don’t have many injury problems ahead of this encounter but they will be without Tammy Abraham – who has been sidelined with a serious injury and isn’t expected to return before the end of this season. In addition, Rasmus Kristensen is also not in contention to feature in this game due to his injury.

West Ham vs Freiburg

West Ham won the Conference League last term and they will be desperate to lift the back-to-back European trophy this season. Moyes has hinted that he would be prioritising the Europa League over the Premier League by starting a few fringe players in the last league game against Burnley last Sunday, keeping one eye on this Thursday’s fixture.

The Hammers found themselves trailing by 2-0 against Vincent Kompany’s side before eventually managing to salvage one point. So, West Ham are currently winless in their last two games in all competitions.

On the other hand, although Freiburg have struggled this season, they have had promising times in recent weeks. The German side are unbeaten in the last three games in all competitions, winning two of those and drawing against Bayern Munich in the other fixture. So, they will be backing themselves to reach the quarter-finals of the Europa League by avoiding defeat on Thursday.

Team news

West Ham have almost a full squad to choose from in this crucial fixture but they could be without Emerson Palmieri due to a groin injury that he picked up in the first leg. In addition, Maxwel Cornet is also set to miss out on this fixture owing to a hamstring issue.

As for Freiburg, they have several absentees ahead of this fixture as they will be without Jordy Makengo, Noah Weisshaupt, Philipp Lienhart, Kenneth Schmidt, Max Rosenfelder and Daniel Kofi-Kyereh owing to their respective problems.

So, it is going to be interesting to see how the English teams eventually perform in the second leg of the Europa League round of 16 and how many of those three clubs can manage to secure their place in the quarter-finals.

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