LASK 1-3 Liverpool: Klopp’s Reds overcome LASK early pressure to claim UEFA Europa League victory

Seven years have passed since Liverpool last contested the UEFA Europa League – and since defeat in that final against Sevilla, the club’s progression has been clear to see. In many ways, participation in the second tier of European football has been seen as a step backwards – but speaking to TNT Sports, Virgil van Dijk insists that the club is now in a new era.

A heavily rotated lineup would see Liverpool’s collective identity tested against a LASK side that haven’t lost in over a month – and with the Austrian side sitting third in their domestic league, they’d fancy their chances against a weakened Klopp lineup.

LASK: Lawal; Luckeneder, Andrade, Ziereis; Renner, Horvath, Jovicic, Flecker; Havel, Zulj, Ljubicic

LIV: Kelleher; Tsimikas, Konaté, van Dijk, Bajcetic; Endō, Gravenberch, Elliott; Díaz, Núñez, Doak

The first meaningful chance fell to Zulj after Liverpool lost possession from a corner – with the move starting when the ball came out to Elliot, whose first touch was dreadful. The ball would work itself into the box, and Virgil van Dijk had to come across to deflect Zulj’s shot for a corner.  

From the ensuing corner, Horvath whipped a ball to the edge of the box. Flecker was able to get it out of his feet with one touch, taking on the half-volley shot to nestle the ball acutely into the corner of the net – leaving Kelleher stranded.

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Liverpool didn’t panic though, as Núñez headed towards goal from an Elliot cross shortly after LASK took the lead. But to the frustration of Liverpool’s target man, here was too much power on his effort as it flew over the woodwork. 

Chances would be few and far between over the next twenty minutes, until a corner was floated in for Liverpool. Van Dijk would header it back into the danger area towards Núñez – but the Uruguayan would be denied from close range.

Ten minutes after the restart, Liverpool were given a fortunate penalty. The ball had already left Díaz’s feet from an attempted shot and was going wide of the target, but a slight nick from an Austrian defender was deemed to be worthy of a spot kick – which Núñez converted to restore parity.

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Liverpool then piled on the pressure as Díaz would grab the second goal for Liverpool in the 63rd minute. The move started beautifully as Konaté’s long ball found Núñez, who held it up for Elliot. The pacy Liverpool maestro then drove the ball on, eventually finding Gravenberch out wide who whipped it across the six yard box for an easy tap-in for the clinical Colombian, who wasn’t going to miss from close range. 

Salah would round off the Liverpool victory after his introduction, with three minutes left till the final whistle. Núñez did well to win the ball back on the edge of the box and feed it through to the Egyptian King, who had options to square it but instead cleverly poked it through Lawal’s legs. 

Liverpool came from behind once more, but were eventually able to produce a dominant performance against inferior opposition. Jurgen Klopp’s men will host Royale Union Saint-Gilloise on 5 October, while LASK travel to Toulouse.