Liverpool were forced to pull off another comeback to secure victory in their opening Europa League group-stage game as they beat LASK 3-1 in Linz.
LASK 1-3 Liverpool
Europa League Group Stage (1), Raiffeisen Arena
September 21, 2023
Goals: Nunez pen 56′, Diaz 63′, Salah 88′
Caoimhin Kelleher – 7 (out of 10)
A virtual spectator for much of the first half, doing little more than picking the ball out of his own net after an unstoppable strike.
Made one strong stop from Havel at the start of the second half, however, and followed it up with a truly excellent save from an offside chance.
Stefan Bajcetic – 6
Showed how he might be a good fit for a hybrid defensive/midfield role with some lovely passes through the lines and a couple of memorable defensive contributions.
However, he was also caught out of position on a number of occasions, and struggled at times with the hosts’ physicality. It may take him some time to get up to full speed after that injury, this was his first club appearance since March.
Ibrahima Konate – 6
Was too easily beaten down the right as LASK won the corner that led to them opening the scoring, and was then booked as his frustration boiled over.
However, the Frenchman was an otherwise calm presence at the back on his welcome return from injury.
Virgil van Dijk – 7
A dominant figure at the back on his return from suspension as LASK struggled to get a sniff.
Ended the game with five clearances, two interceptions and two tackles.
Kostas Tsimikas – 6
His crosses looked like Liverpool’s biggest creative threat in the first half, though he inexplicably squandered a chance to counter by holding on to the ball too long.
Not a performance that will live long in the memory, but a typically steady one from Liverpool’s back-up left-back.
Wataru Endo – 5
Completed just 81.6 percent of his passes and made only one tackle as the game largely passed him by.
His task was not made any easier by the fact the team as a whole was not at its best, but the Japan international will need to take these opportunities if he is to become a starter.
Harvey Elliott – 5
Earned this start through his brilliant cameos across the start of the season, but did not deliver similar impact from the start here.
Tried his best to create but was uncharacteristically sloppy in his execution at times, though did play a role in the build-up to the second goal.
Ryan Gravenberch – 8
Caught the eye on full debut by repeatedly breaking the lines in midfield in driving forward and showing some lovely touches in tight spaces.
Had a couple of moments where end product eluded him but made four key passes and his assist for Diaz was truly superb. A hugely encouraging performance.
Ben Doak – 6
Gave every fan what they had hoped to see with two brilliant dribbles past his man early in the match but also showed that there rough edges to his game, as you would expect of one so tender in years.
Is not yet particularly reliable in terms of holding the ball up on the wing, though that will certainly come with more time in the gym.
Darwin Nunez – 7
Missed a golden opportunity to equalise in the first half as he gave the LASK goalkeeper a chance to save a close-range header that simply had to find the back of the net.
However, he ended the game having taken five shots, scored, and played a key role in Liverpool’s third. There’s not much more you can ask of a striker.
Luis Diaz – 8 (Man of the Match)
A constant threat to the LASK back line and did better than any other attacker in terms of forcing turnovers out of possession.
Won the penalty that led to the equaliser then took his goal with typical aplomb. It is so good to see him back to his best after the disappointment of last season.
Dominik Szoboszlai (on for Doak, 61′) – 7 – Helped keep Liverpool on the front foot as they saw out the win with ease.
Joe Gomez (on for Bajcetic, 61′) – 6 – Brought more balance to Liverpool defence by virtue of being a more natural fit at right-back.
Mohamed Salah (on for Gravenberch, 75′) – 8 – Will have been annoyed not to start this but was a menace when he came on scored in brilliant fashion.
Joel Matip (on for Konate, 81′) – 6 – Came on to see out the match and afford Konate a few minutes off the pitch.
Subs not used: Alisson, Jaros, Jones, Gakpo, Jota, Robertson, Quansah.
Jurgen Klopp – 8
Might have wished he had gone a little stronger in his selection after a ropey first half but ultimately got everything he wanted from this game.
It is the fourth time in the six games so far that Liverpool have conceded first and that is trend we have seen before, but it would be best for all if a comeback was not always necessary.