It may not be Europe's elite competition, but the strength of last nights starting line up, speaks volumes for how serious Jurgen Klopp is taking this years Europa League.
With Salah and Diaz up top, Gravenberch and Elliott in midfield, and Tmisikas, Konate and Gomez in defence, the Reds boss was determined to get the victory Liverpool needed to secure top spot in Group E, gauranteeing a place in the last 16 of the competition.
That victory never looked in doubt, especially after Liverpool took a 2 - 0 lead after only 15 minutes. LASK certainly had their moments, and on another night could, and should, have scored. But Liverpool always looked in control, and appeared capable of upping their game, if, and when they needed to.
Victory was assured just after the break, when Salah scored his 199th Liverpool goal, and with the game between Toulouse and Union SG ending in a draw, Liverpool were confirmed as group winners. The results mean they automatically qualify for the Round of 16, which takes place in March. It also means Liverpool will not be forced to play in the dreaded knock out rounds, where the teams finishing second in each group have one last chance to progress. Whilst the knock-out rounds might be entertaining for fans, they are a headache for managers, and Klopp will certainly be releaved his side do not have to play another 2 games in an already hectic January / February.
Strong performances from youngsters
Despite the star names starting the match (and even more joining from the substitutes bench), a number of youngsters caught the eye during the game, with Elliott and Quansah playing particularly well.
Elliott was busy throughout the game, playing on the front foot, displaying his excellent vision and range of passing, and might have had a goal himself, if not for an excellent save from the visiting keeper. At the other end, Quahsah showed his enormous potential, marshalling the defence, making tackles and blocks, and looked totally at home, despite his tender age and lack of experience.
There were also cameos from Connor Bradley and Luke Chambers, as Klopp took the opportunity to rotate his players, and give valuable experience to the next generation.
Group E Table
- Liverpool - 12pts
- Toulouse - 8pts
- Union SG - 5pts
- LASK - 3pts
Liverpool have one game left in Group E, away against Union SG, on Thursday 14th December 2023. We expect Klopp to use this game to rest his big players, as there will be nothing riding on the game. Hopefully a few more young players can use the match to showcase their talents, and stake a claim for more game time as the season progresses.
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Peter Farrell - Editor and Chief Article Writer, LFC - Back On Our Perch
Articles written by Author :: 348
Lifelong fan with a passion for all things Liverpool. First memory of football is watching John Barnes score a dramatic last minute equaliser in the FA Cup when he was 4. Feels lucky to be a part of the 'Klopp' era.
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