Liverpool were forced to summon their comeback powers again on the opening night of their Europa League campaign, winning 3-1 at LASK to collect their first three European points.
LASK 1-3 Liverpool
Europa League Group Stage (1), Raiffeisen Arena
September 21, 2023
Nunez (pen) 56′
Diaz 63′ (assist – Gravenberch)
Salah 88′ (assist – Nunez)
Understandably then, Liverpool were not always on the same wavelength and it led to the opening goal in just the 14th minute, with miscommunication in midfield leading to a corner and a rocket finish from the hosts.
The fourth game from six this season that the Reds have conceded first. Consistent for all the wrong reasons.
Darwin Nunez had sighters and came the closest to a first-half equaliser with a close-range header, but while the Reds dominated possession, they cried out for accuracy and physicality in the contest.
Frustration brewed with a combination of sloppy play and decisions from the referee, though the Reds were far from blameless for the latter.
HT: LASK 1-0 Liverpool
- 11 changes; Gravenberch and Doak make first start
- Conceded first for the fourth time this season
- Nunez, Diaz and Salah with the goals
- Reds start Europa campaign with a victory
There were no immediate changes from Liverpool after the break, though they returned with impetus – even if they all appeared hesitant to take a shot to start.
But it was laid on a platter for Nunez to level the scores after Luis Diaz won a penalty, with Liverpool’s No. 9 comfortably converting for his third goal of the season.
Just two minutes later and the Reds were 2-1 up, with Harvey Elliott and Gravenberch combining on the right flank before the latter perfectly teed up Diaz for a first-time finish. Exquisite.
The assist-maker, however, was forced from the field 11 minutes later with what Klopp later revealed was simply cramp after his first start since arriving.
And as one would expect, Mohamed Salah could not let the occasion pass without adding to his goal tally, finishing superbly through the goalkeeper’s legs after brilliant build-up play from Nunez. His 42nd in Europe for the club.
In the end, it may not have been the prettiest of performances but the Reds got the job done with a dominant second half, opening their Europa League account with three points.
TIA Man of the Match: Luis Diaz
Referee: Marco Di Bello (ITA)
LASK: Lawal; Luckeneder (Darboe 80′), Ziereis, Andrade; Flecker, Jovicic, Horvath, Renner; Ljubicic (Kone 68′), Havel (Mustapha 68′), Zulj
Subs not used: Siebenhandl, Bello, Talovierov, Stojkovic, Ljubic, Ba, Balic, Usor, Goiginger
Liverpool: Kelleher; Bajcetic (Gomez 61′), Konate (Matip 81′), Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Endo (Mac Allister 61′), Elliott, Gravenberch (Salah 74′); Doak (Szoboszlai 61′), Diaz, Nunez
Subs not used: Alisson, Jaros, Quansah, Robertson, Jones, Jota, Gakpo