Jurgen Klopp can achieve first-time record as Reds return to European stage

Liverpool’s European campaign gets underway in Austria on a night that could see Jurgen Klopp achieve a club first and Ben Doak write his name alongside Michael Owen.

Liverpool and LASK have never met before and the Austrians will be the Reds 135th different European opponent.

Liverpool are playing in their 48th European campaign, and this is their 19th in the Fairs Cup/UEFA Cup/Europa League.

This will be Liverpool’s first match in this competition for 2,682 days. That game was the 2016 final in Basel. None of the 18-matchday squad available that day remain at Anfield.

Moreover, Joe Gomez is the only current player to have appeared for Liverpool in this competition – two games (both 1-1 draws) in 2016, against Bordeaux and Sion.


Klopp 1 away from 50

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 2, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp waves to the supporters after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Aston Villa FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

If Liverpool win this game it will be Jurgen Klopp’s 50th victory in Europe as Liverpool manager – the first Reds boss ever to reach the landmark. Rafa Benitez also won 49.

Liverpool have not lost successive away games in European competition for four years – May 2019 at Barcelona in the Semi-Final (3-0) and 2-0 at Napoli in the group stage the following September.

Mo Salah will be looking to add to his club record 42 European goals. He has scored five goals in 28 Europa League games during his career.

The Reds have not conceded a goal after the 37th minute of any game so far this season.


Group stage success, now for more

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, September 20, 2023: Liverpool players sing happy birthday to a staff member during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group E match between LASK and Liverpool FC. (Pic by Andrew Yeats/Propaganda)

In European competition, the Reds have won 11 of their last 12 group games. They lost their opening group match last season in the Champions League at Napoli 4-1 with Luis Diaz scoring their solitary goal.

The Reds have scored 21 goals in their last six away European group matches.

LASK will be the Reds’ fifth Austrian opponent after Austria Vienna, Swarovski Tirol, AK Graz and RB Salzburg.

In the previous eight meetings, Liverpool have won six. They are unbeaten in Austria (three wins, one draw) with the only loss coming at home to AK Graz in a Champions League qualifier in 2004 at Anfield on the way to their Istanbul success.


Time for Doak to join Owen?

PRESTON, ENGLAND - Monday, August 7, 2023: Liverpool's Ben Doak during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and SV Darmstadt 98 at Deepdale. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

An appearance by Ben Doak would see him become the fourth youngest ever Liverpool player in Europe after Phil Charnock, Raheem Sterling and Michael Owen.

And should he score, he would become only the second 17 year-old after Michael Owen (17 years 276 days in 1997) to score for Liverpool in Europe. Doak would be 17 years and 314 days old.

Players who could possibly play their first European game for Liverpool:- Wataru Endo, Dominik Szoboszlai, Alexis Mac Allister, Ryan Gravenberch, Bobby Clark, Ben Doak and Jarell Quansah.


Getting to know the hosts

03.04.2011, Stadion der Stadt Linz, Linz, AUT, 1. FBL, LASK Linz vs FC Red Bull Salzburg, im Bild die Fans des Lask (LASK Linz, #), EXPA Pictures © 2011, PhotoCredit: EXPA/ R.Eisenbauer

LASK (full name Linzer Atheletic-Sport-Klub) were founded in 1908 and in 1965 became the first club outside of Vienna to win the Austrian league title – its only Championship to date and also won the Cup in the same year.

They have not won a major trophy since.

Last season they finished third in the Austrian Bundesliga behind RB Salzburg (by 14 points) and Sturm Graz.

Since their biggest home defeat in Europe (to Manchester United) they have lost only one of 11 at home – to Royal Antwerp in 2020/21, winning seven and drawing the other three. Their last four at home in Europe have all been won.

LASK have won 15 of their last 22 home matches in Europe, losing just 3 times in a run stretching back to 2000.


First time for this ref

Marco Di Bello (Italy) takes charge of both Liverpool and LASK for the first time. He reffed both Manchester United and Arsenal in this competition last season.


Scorers so far this season

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 16, 2023: Liverpool's Harvey Elliott (L) celebrates with team-mate Dominik Szoboszlai after scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Liverpool FC at Molineux Stadium. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

LASK: Zulj 5, Ziereis 3, Goiginger 2, Havel 2, Kone 2, Ljubicic 2, Flecker 1, Jovicic 1, Luckeneder 1, Mustapha 1

Liverpool: Diaz 2, Nunez 2, Salah 2, Gakpo 1, Jota 1, Robertson 1, Szoboszlai 1, own goals 2

* Stats courtesy of LFC statistician Ged Rea (@ged0407).