Ben Doak bids to join Michael Owen in exclusive club on Anfield Europa return

Liverpool are back in European action on Thursday night as Ben Doak eyes a slice of club history.

The Reds’ win at LASK in Matchday One was Jurgen Klopp’s 50th victory in Europe as Liverpool boss. No manager has won more for the club.

Mohamed Salah, if selected, will play his 150th game for Liverpool at Anfield. He has scored 103 goals in front of the Kop.

Should Ben Doak score he would become only the second 17-year-old after Michael Owen (17 years and 276 days in 1997) to score for Liverpool in Europe. Doak would be 17 years and 328 days old.


European pedigree

LINZ, AUSTRIA - Thursday, September 21, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp before the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 1 game between LASK and Liverpool FC at the Raiffeisen Arena. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In European competition, the Reds have won 12 of their last 13 group games.

In their last Europa League campaign of 2015/16, the Reds won six of their 15 matches and drew seven.

The Reds’ last Europa League defeat at Anfield came in October 2012 – a 3-2 loss to Udinese.

Liverpool have not lost successive European home games since being defeated by Lyon and Fiorentina in 2009-10 Champions League group stages.

The Reds have finished top of their Europa League group in all three seasons they have played in the competition. On each occasion they have amassed 10 points – in 2010-11, 2012-13 and 2015-16.


Cards galore

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 30, 2023: Liverpool's Diogo Jota is shown a red card and sent off by referee Simon Hooper during the FA Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool have received four red cards in the last eight games having taken 261 matches to receive the four prior to that.

The Reds have won all four home games this season, scoring 12 goals in the process.

Salah has made five substitute appearances for Liverpool in European competition and has scored five times in those games, averaging a goal as a sub every 13 and a half minutes.

Union SG are the fifth Belgian team that Liverpool have faced in European competition following Anderlecht, Standard Liege, FC Bruges and Genk.


History with Belgian sides

Liverpool’s record against teams from Belgium is 12 wins, two draws and one defeat from 15 meetings. In that sequence, they have scored 28 times.

The defeat came to Anderlecht in Brussels in the European Super Cup of 1978 – they lost 3-1 on the night to a team containing the likes of Arie Haan, Francois van der Elst, Franky Vercauteren and Robbie Rensenbrink (the latter trio scoring the goals).

They have won all seven Anfield encounters against Belgian sides, scoring 17 goals while conceding five. They have scored 3 times in 4 of those meetings.

Their last Belgian opponent was Genk in the group phase of the Champions League in October/November 2019, with the Reds winning 4-1 away courtesy of a brace from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as well as goals from Sadio Mane and Mo Salah.

In the Anfield return, Oxlade-Chamberlain scored the winner in a 2-1 win after Georginio Wijnaldum had opened the scoring.

It was against Belgian opponents almost 59 years ago that Liverpool wore an all-red kit for the first time, defeating Anderlecht 3-0 at Anfield.


Opposition insight

Union SG were founded in 1897 and have won the Belgian First Division title 11 times, all of those coming from 1904-1935.

They played in the Fairs Cup in five seasons between 1958-60 and 1964-65, winning five of the 16 matches.

In 2022 they returned to European competition for the 1st time in 58 years and historically qualified for the Champions League, only to lose 3-2 on aggregate to Rangers in the 3rd qualifying round after winning the 1st leg 2-0.

In that season’s Europa League, they finished top of their group, winning four and drawing one of their games with the loss coming at home in the final game – a ‘dead rubber’ – to Union Berlin.

Kevin Mac Allister, elder brother of Liverpool’s Alexis Mac Allister plays for Union SG, having joined in the summer from Argentinos Juniors where his first-team career lasted seven years (from 2016-23).


Scorers so far this season

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 13, 2023: Liverpool's Diogo Jota during the FA Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool: Nunez 4, Salah 4, Diaz 3, Gakpo 3, Jota 3, Szoboszlai 2, Robertson 1, own goals 2

Union SG: Eckert 7, Amoura 4, Nilsson 3, Puertas 2, Sykes 2, Terho 2, Burgess 1, Lapoussin 1

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