LASK nearly caused an early shock in this season’s Europa League but ultimately suffered a 3-1 defeat against former champions Liverpool at home this evening.
Luis Díaz was the difference maker after Jurgen Klopp’s men once again found themselves a goal behind. First, he won the penalty Darwin Nunez converted, before sweeping home a pitch-perfect Ryan Gravenberch cross.
Two goals in 7 minutes to put us ahead ⚽⚽ pic.twitter.com/JcCoQEEKJJ
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) September 21, 2023
Mohamed Salah, their most prolific scorer in European competition, wrapped things up with a neat piece of individual brilliance late on. Salah’s effort moved him to 42 goals in major European competition for Liverpool, the joint-most of any player for an English club (level with Thierry Henry for Arsenal).
By completing this comeback win, the Reds ended a five-game away winless streak (one loss and four draws) in this competition. Furthermore, their head coach rewrote history, the German tactician became the first manager in Liverpool’s illustrious history to reach 50 wins in European competition, surpassing Rafael Benitez on 49 victories.
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The hero in Upper Austria was among eleven changes Klopp made to Liverpool’s starting lineup from their 3-1 win over Wolves in the Premier League last weekend. Gravenberch, who joined from Bayern Munich late in the summer transfer window, made his full Liverpool debut after coming off the bench last time out.
It was a performance that lasted 74 minutes but the former Ajax academy graduate made it count. He finished with four chances created, most by anyone in tonight’s game, as well as winning possession eight times (second-most for Liverpool, after Stefan Bajcetic) and four fouls (most in a Liverpool shirt).
Ben Doak was also handed his first start. The promising 17-year-old forward signed a new long-term contract earlier this week and began on the right flank with Nunez and Diaz joining him in attack. Bajcetic, meanwhile, was a surprise inclusion at right-back with Trent Alexander-Arnold still missing with a hamstring issue.
The defensive midfielder hadn’t been seen following an adductor injury earlier this year. Caoimhin Kelleher came in for Alisson Becker in goal and there was nothing the Irish goalkeeper could have done regarding Florian Flecker’s deadlock-breaking goal that was rifled in from the edge of the box.
What a goal by Flecker ?
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) September 21, 2023
As touched upon, Liverpool had to recover after falling behind, with this being their fifth consecutive success in all competitions; four of those wins (against Bournemouth, Newcastle, Wolves and LASK) saw them come from 1-0 down with three instances of them conceding inside the opening 15 minutes.
“I think [Klopp] will be slightly concerned, they’ll probably look at it and think ‘why has that happened? Is it a coincidence? Does it happen too much to draw some conclusions to it?” Michael Owen told TNT Sports.
“The overriding feeling would be a little bit of relief, it’s a great first result away from home, you get three points then all of a sudden you’re in a really strong position. He will be delighted but a few concerns about why it’s happening all the time. It’s some character they show to come back and win.”