Europa League Five Players who impressed Mohammed Kudus West Ham
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Europa League: Five players who impressed

The quarter-final lineup for the Europa League has been confirmed with Liverpool and West Ham booking their place in the last eight after big wins this week.

Following the latest European action, we’ve picked out five players who impressed in the Europa League this week.

Europa League: Five players who impressed:

Mohammed Kudus – West Ham

What a talent. That some of European football’s wealthier clubs did not make a move for Kudus last summer appears more surprising with each performance in an impressive debut season at West Ham.

The Ghana international was the inspiration for West Ham’s second-leg turnaround against SC Freiburg, as the Hammers hit their German opponents for five at the London Stadium to reach the quarter-finals.

Kudus scored twice, including a sensational solo goal that saw him dribble from deep inside his own half for the home side’s fourth. There has not been a better one scored in the Europa League this season.

He added a second with a sweet strike from the edge of the area, drilled into the bottom corner to seal a 5-0 win for last season’s Conference League winners.

Kudus is firmly in the mould of Paolo Di Canio and Dimitri Payet as an East End entertainer.

Patrik Schick – Bayer Leverkusen

Bayer Leverkusen’s unbeaten record this season continues though no side has tested the Bundesliga leaders quite like Qarabağ. The Azerbaijani outfit took two-goal leads in both legs of their last-16 tie, though Leverkusen showed the spirit that has propelled their treble challenge to come back on each occasion and ultimately progress.

Patrik Schick came off the bench to rescue a draw in stoppage time of the first leg and history repeated itself as the Czech centre-forward was the hero of the return again. On as a substitute with Leverkusen 2-0 down and heading out, he steered in a 93rd-minute equaliser after Jeremie Frimpong had pulled one back for Xabi Alonso’s side.

Extra time appeared imminent, only for Schick to snatch a win – and progress – moments later. Exequiel Palacios’ deep cross found the unmarked forward at the back post to nod in a 97th-minute decider and send Leverkusen into the quarter-finals.

Schick has struggled for minutes this season at Leverkusen following the arrival of Victor Boniface, but the 28-year-old has come alive in Europe. He’s now scored five Europa League goals in just 155 minutes of action.

Mohamed Salah – Liverpool

Mohamed Salah made his return to the Liverpool team against Sparta Prague and proved too good for the overwhelmed opposition at Anfield.

The Egyptian was at the centre of a ruthless Reds performance as Liverpool scored four times inside the opening 14 minutes, building on a 5-1 win from the first leg in Prague.

He set up Bobby Clark’s first Liverpool goal as Sparta imploded trying to play out from the back and ended the evening with a goal and three assists.

His goal made it seven consecutive seasons with 20+ goals in all competitions for Liverpool, setting a new club record. A reminder, not that it was needed, of his consistent brilliance.

Aleksey Miranchuk – Atalanta

Aleksey Miranchuk’s encouraging campaign at Atalanta continued with the Russian the decisive player across his side’s last-16 tie with Sporting Lisbon.

Having set up Gianluca Scamacca’s goal in the first meeting at the Estádio José Alvalade, he created both goals in the return as Atalanta won 2-1 in the second leg to reach the quarter-finals.

Miranchuk’s creativity helped Atalanta past a Sporting side who have impressed this season and who entered the contest unbeaten in 11 games in all competitions.

After struggling for favour earlier in the season, the 28-year-old has impressed with a regular run in the side in recent weeks. It’s now three goals and 10 assists in all competitions for Miranchuk this season, including four in his last three Europa League appearances.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek – AC Milan

Ruben Loftus-Cheek is back enjoying his football once again with the midfielder shining during his debut season at AC Milan.

Loftus-Cheek made it nine goals for the season during Milan’s 3-1 win over Slavia Prague, thumping in a finish after being set up by Theo Hernandez. After struggling for status at Chelsea, Loftus-Cheek has become a key cog for the Rossoneri and is thriving amid the freedom to maraud forward into the opposition penalty area.

Flanked by Rafael Leao and former Chelsea teammate Christian Pulisic, there’s a dynamism to Milan’s attacking unit and Loftus-Cheek is central to that. He is perhaps unfortunate to have missed out on the England squad, given his performances this season and a lack of in-form midfielders in the national set-up.

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