Liverpool were made to battle for a place in the Europa League last 16 as Sparta Prague showed plenty of attacking ambition but Dirk Kuyt's header sent the Reds through 1-0 on the night and on aggregate. Liverpool are now unbeaten in ten European games at Anfield and they were given a scare by Sparta who had positive intentions from the start and gave the Reds defence problems throughout without really threatening keeper Pepe Reina.

David Ngog had chances for the host's but kept fluffing his lines and even when chances were created Jaromir Blazek in the visitor's goal proved equal to the task.

Sparta have now lost their last three games in England although with five minutes remaining they probably thought that extra time was looming.

But from a Raul Meireles corner Kuyt headed home from inside the six-yard box and a date against Lech Poznan or SC Braga in the next round.

As has been typical of Liverpool's campaign it was not a vintage performance but at least under Kenny Dalglish they are now grinding out the results.

Referee: Milorad Mazic (SRB)

Venue: Anfield Attendance: 42,949

Liverpool scorers: Kuyt 85 Sparta Prague scorers:

LIVERPOOL 25 Reina 05 Agger (Skrtel 85) 16 Kyrgiakos 22 Wilson 34 Kelly (yellow card) (Carragher (46yellow card) 04 Meireles 10 Cole 21 Lucas (yellow card) 28 Poulsen (yellow card) (Spearing 65) 18 Kuyt 24 Ngog

Substitutes 42 Gulacsi, 23 Carragher, 37 Skrtel, 17 Maxi, 26 Spearing, 12 Pacheco, 14 Jovanovic

SPARTA PRAGUE 29 Blazek 02 Repka 21 Brabec 38 Abena (Pekhart 78) 03 Pamic (yellow card) (Keric 90) 07 Sionko (Podany 73) 08 Matejovsky (yellow card) 13 Kusnir 25 Vacek 09 Leonard Kweuke (yellow card) 14 Kadlec

Substitutes 01 Zitka, 15 Kladrubsky, 27 Husek, 05 Podany, 22 Zeman, 40 Keric, 41 Pekhart

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