Repka wanted to face Torres

Sparta Prague captain Tomas Repka is disappointed not to be facing Fernando Torres when Liverpool visit for their Europa League tie.

Last Updated: 16/02/11 at 17:10

Repka: Ready for Liverpool test

Repka: Ready for Liverpool test

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The former West Ham defender has yet to beat the Reds after one draw and three defeats during his spell in the Premier League.

Since the draw was made in December Repka had been gearing up for a head-to-head battle with the Spain international - only to have those hopes dashed by his £50million transfer to Chelsea.

And with Steven Gerrard also absent on Thursday with a groin problem the 37-year-old believes Liverpool are weaker now than when he faced them for the Hammers.

"Although they are pretty strong, when I was there (England) Liverpool not only were they strong but they appeared in the Champions League and the number of big names was larger than today," he said.

"Our young players won't be overawed. Although there is some respect for the opposition - which they have earned - I don't think there is too much time for much humility or being scared.

"I was looking forward to a confrontation with Torres but it will be okay. I hope to improve my record against Liverpool."

The Czech league began a mid-season break in November and does not resume until the end of the month.

Sparta's last competitive match was the draw with CSKA Moscow in their final Europa League group match on December 15 and since then they have only been able to play friendlies in Dubai.

It means Kenny Dalglish's side, on a six-match unbeaten run, enter the tie as favourites but Repka said it was not something which should concern the hosts as they had to focus on their own strengths.

"It is all about good organisation, concentration on what we do and it is also about the personal responsibility of each player tomorrow."

Coach Jozef Chovanec concedes his side are underdogs for the two-legged tie, and even without the injured Gerrard or defender Daniel Agger little changes.

"Liverpool are a strong side and I don't think the absence of one player can have an impact on the team," he said.

"We knew from the beginning that Liverpool were definitely one of the strongest sides we could end up with.

"We are facing very tough opposition indeed but we purposely chose good teams in our preparations to make it as competitive as possible.

"We are looking forward to tomorrow's match very much because we worked hard to get as far as this knockout stage."

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Thursday, 19 February 2015
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