Liverpool have the opportunity to guarantee their place in the Europa League knockout rounds and possibly the last 16 should they perform at Anfield and another result go their way.
Liverpool vs. LASK
Europa League (5) | Anfield
November 30, 2023 | 8pm (GMT)
The final European night at Anfield for the group stages is upon us, with the Reds meeting LASK in the penultimate round – a team who tested Jurgen Klopp‘s side in the opening match.
There is plenty on the line, with a chance to wrap up the group with a game to spare.
Here are 10 key things to know ahead of kick-off.
1. At least 2 weeks out for Alisson
Alisson left plenty of us in a worried state after clutching at his hamstring and walking off the Etihad pitch in discomfort, and we now know he will not be available for the next couple of weeks, at best.
Caoimhin Kelleher was always to step in for this fixture, but it is a huge blow for Liverpool during what is their busiest run of games, with matches coming on average every 2.8 days up until Boxing Day.
2. A chance to qualify for the last 16, if…
Liverpool currently sit atop of Group E with nine points, two ahead of next best Toulouse – who face Union SG at the same time on Thursday evening.
A win for the Reds will guarantee their place in the knockout stages irrespective of the other result. However, they will secure a last 16 place should they win and Toulouse fail to beat Union SG.
Liverpool want to avoid the round of 32, and while one result is out of their hands, they can make life a lot easier for themselves by getting the job done at Anfield.
We didn’t enjoy doing it the easy last time out in this competition, let’s hope that changes on Thursday!
3. “A bit more severe” for Jota…
Klopp has since confirmed that the No. 20 faces time on the sidelines with a hamstring injury, with his period of absence to be a “little bit longer” than Alisson‘s.
It suggests up to four weeks as the best outcome, but the manager admitted “we don’t know exactly how long” as it is “a bit more severe,” and we know from the past that timelines are no guarantee.
4. LASK not coming as “tourists”
For the first time in their history, LASK make the trip to Anfield for a competitive match and their manager, Thomas Sageder, has insisted they’re not here for a fun night out.
“We don’t want to go there as tourists,” Sageder said over the weekend. “It’s just a football game that you always have some chance of winning. We want to demand everything from them there.”
A fair warning of what to expect from LASK, who warmed up for this match with a narrow 1-0 victory, consolidating their current third place standing in the Austrian Bundesliga.
Form (all competitions)
- Liverpool (most recent L-R): D W L D W
- LASK: W L W W D
Possible LASK XI: Lawal; Andrade, Talovyerov, Ziereis; Stojkovic, Horvath, Ljubic, Bello; Ljubicic, Zulj, Uso
5. Rude Anfield awakening
LASK may be intent on asking questions of the Reds, but they will not be naive to Liverpool’s current record at home.
Moreover, Klopp’s side have won all nine home games this season across all competitions – scoring 27 times in that run and conceding only four.
6. Klopp wants everyone to “really go for it”
Speaking on the eve of the clash, Klopp called for a “proper European night at Anfield” as his side prepare to start an intense run of games across multiple competitions:
“We are in the beginning of the most intense period of the whole season, that’s how it is. We play now Thursday-Sunday, then Wednesday-Saturday and it’s super tough.
“We have to make sure that this is a European night, that’s what I expect us to do. A proper European night at Anfield, really going for it.
“I will line up a team – I didn’t hear anything yet on who I cannot [start from] all the others, besides the injured players – that has fresh legs and will go for it, who wants to enjoy the game and will really fight for a result.”
7. Doak’s dreams coming true
Ben Doak has two appearances in this competition so far and will be in line for another, an experience that he is not taking lightly having now racked up nine senior Liverpool appearances.
“I’m enjoying just being around it, to be honest. I think anyone of my age is lucky to be in and around it. I’m just trying to look for minutes when I can get them,” Doak told the club’s website.
“Three, four years ago, I couldn’t have imagined being here and being in and around it as much as I have been. When you’re in the moment, it’s fine and you’re just playing football, enjoying yourself.
“After it when you take a step back, you realise, ‘I’m playing at one of the highest levels you can get.’ It’s a dream come true for a young lad.”
We can’t wait for the day he gets his name on the scoresheet – Thursday, perhaps?
8. Don’t be surprised by more rotation
Elliott has played every minute of the competition and will be expected to come back in after a cameo off the bench at Man City – and the same will be expected of Ryan Gravenberch, Cody Gakpo and Luis Diaz.
Another opportunity should come the way of Doak, affording Mo Salah a rest that he will likely not be eager for, while both Ibrahima Konate and Joe Gomez could both find themselves back in the lineup.
Predicted Reds XI: Kelleher; Gomez, Konate, Quansah, Chambers; Endo, Elliott, Gravenberch; Doak, Gakpo, Diaz
9. A new ref for the Reds
The referee for this match is Urs Schnyder, from Switzerland. He has never previously overseen a game for Liverpool or LASK.
We have seen the pitfalls of UEFA rules with VAR last time out – plus what happened to Newcastle at PSG this week – and for the Anfield clash it will be operated by Marco Fritz, from Germany.
10. Follow the match with TIA
Liverpool vs. LASK is live on TNT Sports 1 with kickoff at 8pm (GMT)
TIA’s matchday live blog will be up and running from 7.15pm, with Adam Beattie tasked with keeping you entertained and up-to-date.
Come on you Reds!