What Can Liverpool Expect From Spartak Moscow In The Champions League?

What Can Liverpool Expect From Spartak Moscow In The Champions League?
Sep 26, 2017

Champions League Featured Liverpool

Ahead of Spartak Moscow’s Champions League clash with Liverpool, Russian football expert, Artur Petrosyan, who is featured on Sky, BBC & a scout himself gave us a lowdown ahead of the Reds’ trip to the Russian capital.

With Jürgen Klopp’s side currently on the back of a thrilling 3-2 win over Leicester – their first win in five attempts, Liverpool will be looking to complete back-to-back wins for the second time this season during Matchday 2 of the Champions League.

The five-time winners of the prestigious European competition were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Sevilla on Matchday 1, whilst opponents Spartak Moscow also opening their account with a draw away at Slovakian outfit Maribor. They have opened their season in the Russian Premier League with 3 wins, 4 draws and 3 defeats.

When asked about the Russian outfit’s league form, Petrosyan described the side’s start to the season as ‘disappointing, adding: “It feels like after winning their first title in 16 years, the 10-time Russian champions thought the job was done and didn’t turn up for this season.”

“They’ve won only 4 games out of 14 in all competitions this season. But the most staggering fact is that during this time Spartak have lost points in six games from winning positions. There are huge psychological problems in the team – it’s something head coach, Massimo Carrera, is still trying to fix.”

This will no doubt come to a disappointment to the Italian manager, with Petrosyan describing the team’s ambitions as hefty: “Spartak’s default ambition is to win the title, but it may not happen again this time. Getting in the top three (Champions League places) and at least third place in the CL group would probably be considered as a success.”

With Carrera’s side having the chance to forget their stuttering league form for one night in their Champions League opener v Maribor, The Meat could only salvage a draw against Slovakian minnows Maribor. Despite the disappointing result, the media focus in the aftermath was primarily on the crowd trouble that overshadowed the encounter at Stadion Ljudski vrt. Away supporters appeared to have used pyrotechnics throughout and aiming one dangerously in the direction of the referee.

As a result, Spartak Moscow fans have been banned from the away end in their encounter against Sevilla in Andalucia in November. On the crowd problems Spartak have been facing, Petrosyan said: “They find it hard to deal with – there are thousands of fans who make it the best-supported club in the country, but there’s a dozen of others who manage to spoil the whole impression.”

“But why is it so hard to identify and punish them is, beyond my understanding. Certainly, the club and the police should do better in that aspect.”

Despite the side’s stuttering start, there are still players who can cause Liverpool’s lackadaisical back four problems on Tuesday evening – and Petrosyan highlighted Dutch winger Quincy Promes as a potential bright ray for the hosts: “Quincy Promes seems the only player who could cause Liverpool problems at the moment.”

“Knowing of the Reds’ constant problems with the back four and the goalkeepers (saving penalties aside!), the Dutch international, who’s scored seven goals this season so far, could do well. The fact that he’s been on Liverpool’s and other English clubs radars over the past few years, will only motivate him even more.”

Despite the 25-year-old not being fully match-fit ahead of the game due to hamstring problems, he could be “raring to go” ahead of the clash with Klopp’s side. From an Anfield point of view, however, Spartak’s weaknesses comfortably outweigh the side’s strengths based on recent evidence & performances, with “the holding midfield area, the defence and the goalkeepers doing far worse than they could.”

The 53-year-old manager Carrera also appears to favour a philosophy similar to Klopp’s vision at Liverpool, with Petrosyan describing it as “aggressive, attacking football with his players putting instant pressure on the opponents when losing possession”.

The video below summarises their problems with counter attacks, and the likes of Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Philippe Coutinho will be keen to capitalise on this. Given that the hosts persist with their style of play v Liverpool, Petrosyan tips the Merseysiders for a comfortable win: “They [Liverpool] should comfortably win.”

“Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah should rip that defence apart on the wings, Coutinho seems happy again, Liverpool look superior to the Russian champions in every part of the pitch. So I can see goals there and definitely a great atmosphere. I know that a lot of Liverpool fans from Russia and surrounding countries are coming to the match, it’s a sell-out already, so everyone will surely enjoy it.”


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