Liverpool can, at the very least, secure a place in the Europa League knockout stages when LASK make the trip to Anfield – but they need two things to happen for their ultimate goal.
The penultimate group game is upon us, with Liverpool currently atop of Group E with nine points, leaving them just a single victory away from the next stage.
Bottom of the table LASK now stand in their way of early qualification, but the task at Anfield for a round of 32 spot is simple: win.
All three points will guarantee a top-two finish in the group, but Jurgen Klopp‘s side will want to progress straight into the last 16, which is reserved only for group winners.
They can win the group on Thursday if two things happen:
- Liverpool win vs. LASK
- Toulouse fail to win vs. Union SG
Liverpool will automatically be crowned group winners if the abovementioned occurs, not entirely out of the realm of possibility – though they missed a chance last time out.
Had the Reds won at Toulouse, they would already have qualified for the last 16 as Union SG dropped points at LASK, but they did not hold up their end of the bargain on that occasion.
The hope is they will this time, though a win for Toulouse – whose game kicks off at the same time on Thursday – will take the final group standings to the final match.
If you’re wondering what a draw for Liverpool would mean, they will qualify for the knockouts if Union SG either lose or draw at Toulouse.
Klopp has called for a “proper European night” at Anfield for the visit of LASK, he wants both the players and the fans to “really go for it” and “fight” for the result.
“The only problem in this competition from time to time… if we have a Champions League game tomorrow, it’s just clear, go for it,” Klopp said.
“We as a team, we 100 percent arrive in this competition and that’s what I want us to do. If we play a bad pass or whatever and then the atmosphere is not there, we need to make a special night of it.
“It is a difficult game, the opponent has a chance themselves to qualify for the next round and that would be massive for LASK, and we have to show as a package that Liverpool is a wonderful place to come but a horrible place to come at the same moment.”