Half-term hands Sterling chance to shine

LONDON - Liverpool's 16-year-old striker Raheem Sterling is spending part of his school holidays travelling to Prague with the first-team squad for their Europa League clash with Sparta on Thursday.

Youth team forward Sterling, who is on a half-term break this week, scored five goals for the Reds' under-18 side in their 9-0 win over Southend United at Anfield on Monday.

He could become the Merseyside club's youngest first team player if he featured in the first leg of the last 32 clash at the Stadion Letna.

Aged 16 years and 71 days, the Jamaica-born England youth international would break the record set last May by Under-18 team mate Jack Robinson if he played.

They are among a group of young players named in the squad along with John Flanagan, Conor Coady and Tom Ince.

"The lads were all going. Most of them were going anyway. There's nothing any of the boys did on Monday night that surprised us," manager Kenny Dalglish said on the club's website.

Liverpool will be without captain Steven Gerrard and defender Daniel Agger, who both missed Saturday's 1-1 draw with Wigan Athletic due to groin injuries, while midfielder Christian Poulsen has stayed behind after his wife went into labour.

Winger Joe Cole returns after a knee injury and Raul Meireles has recovered from a bout of illness.