LINZ, AUSTRIA - Thursday, September 21, 2023: Liverpool's Ben Doak applauds the supporters after the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 1 game between LASK and Liverpool FC at the Raiffeisen Arena. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Ben Doak gives honest verdict on first Liverpool start – “Time to push on”

Ben Doak made his first start for Liverpool in Thursday’s 3-1 win at LASK, with the youngster providing an honest appraisal of his performance.

As many had hoped, Doak was named in Jurgen Klopp‘s starting lineup for the Europa League opener, marking the 17-year-old’s full debut.

It came as one of 11 changes in Austria, and days after the club announced a new long-term contract for their No. 50, it was a big occasion.

Doak may not have been at his effusive best on the right flank, with 30 touches of the ball in 61 minutes, completing 11 of his 14 attempted passes and three of his six attempted dribbles, per FotMob.

But equally, he was not a burden for his more senior team-mates, with it often the case that the Scot’s surging runs off the ball were ignored.

A level-headed young player, Doak took to Instagram after the game to relish his first start, but also acknowledge an up-and-down display.

“First start and European debut,” the teenager wrote.

“Some good bits, some improvements needed. Time to push on.”

Virgil van Dijk, Cody Gakpo, Tyler Morton and academy counterparts Jarell Quansah, Bobby Clark, Owen Beck, Melkamu Frauendorf, Lewis Koumas and James McConnell were among those to congratulate Doak.

In his post-match press conference, too, Klopp noted that Doak’s team-mates should have used him as an outlet “a little bit more often.”

“If we would have used Ben Doak a little bit more often, given him the ball,” he told reporters, “I think he would have got the ball more times on the touchline and passed the ball inside or whatever.”

Liverpool arguably didn’t play to his strengths in Linz, though given it was his first time starting at senior level in a side with 11 changes, that could be expected.

It is clear that this won’t be the last time Doak start for the Reds, anyway, with both player and manager no doubt agreed that it is “time to push on.”