LASK 1-3 Liverpool: Mo Salah, Luis Diaz, and Darwin Nunez score as Reds mount ANOTHER comeback win after poor first half in Austria where they fell behind

  • Liverpool kicked off their Europa League campaign with a comeback victory
  • After a shaky start in Linz, Jurgen Klopp’s men turned up in the second half
  • Click here to watch the IAKO Battle of Old Trafford YouTube Special from the Mail Sport Studios 

Jurgen Klopp said Liverpool were in the Europa League to ‘compete and not give out opportunities’ when asked this week if the competition was a chance to bleed in youngsters and fringe players. For the first half of this match, the opposite was the case.

The Reds handed out lots of opportunities by making 11 changes to the side who beat Wolves last weekend. And they barely competed in the opening period. Austrian side LASK were stronger, well drilled off the ball and capitalised on Liverpool’s many weaknesses.

But Klopp’s men continued their Jekyll and Hyde theme of the season, by winning a game after going 1-0 down for the fourth time in the last five matches. After going behind to a superb strike, two second-half goals in seven minutes put Liverpool in control and then they eased to victory.

Darwin Nunez, Luis Diaz and substitute Mo Salah scored in Liverpool’s first Europa League match since the lost 2016 final. 

So where do we start when analysing them? Do we think of the lacklustre first-half displays or how they blow teams away after the break with slick football?

Florian Flecker opened the scoring for LASK with a fantastic strike from the edge of the box 

Darwin Nunez equalised from the spot in the second half after a controversial penalty

Liverpool were too strong for Linz in the end as they got their Europa League campaign off to a winning start

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On one side of the debate, Klopp must acknowledge that a more serious team such as Manchester City or Arsenal might put the game out of sight if they started so poorly. But with 13 points from 15 in the league and a win in Europe, he will be buoyed by the near-perfect start.

‘We had very good moments, but suffered a lot from the lesser moments,’ said Klopp. ‘Frustration grew. The boys thought there was nothing good in the first half but that is not true. I am really happy. I knew it would be difficult. It was well-deserved.’

Many LASK fans said this was the most glamorous game in the club’s history, with local newspapers carrying good luck messages to the Austrian Bundesliga on their front cover. The team responded in abundance, thriving off the raucous atmosphere in the Stehplatz Tribune.

Thomas Sageder’s team ceded lots of possession but allowed Liverpool little space in behind early on. They bullied a weak Reds midfield featuring two new signings – Wataru Endo and Ryan Gravenberch on his full debut – plus Harvey Elliott, starting his first match of the season.

LASK, which stands for Linzer Athletik Sport Klub, led after 13 minutes when Florian Flecker brought the ball down from a corner and fizzed in a shot from the edge of the box. They could have had another when Marin Ljubicic was thwarted by a last-ditch block from Virgil Van Dijk.

The Reds had chances in the first half, with Darwin Nunez twice going close – the second of which fantastically saved by Tobias Lawal at point-blank range – but it wasn’t until after the break that Klopp’s side started to really threaten.

Luis Diaz was fouled in the penalty area by Philipp Ziereis, who until that point had been by far the standout player on the pitch with an imperious defensive display, and Nunez confidently dispatched the penalty.

Luis Diaz put Liverpool ahead as he got on the end of Ryan Gravenberch’s cross 

Mo Salah nutmegged Tobias Lawal to cap off a hard-fought victory where the Reds were far from their best 

Ryan Gravenberch made his full debut for Liverpool and acquitted himself well in midfield 

Ben Doak was a dangerous outlet on the wing until his substitution in the second half 

Seven minutes later, Elliott set the lanky Gravenberch free on the right-hand side and the Dutchman, making his full debut after a Deadline Day switch from Bayern Munich, put the ball on a plate for Diaz to fire home.

It was a credit to LASK that Klopp felt obliged to send on five senior players from the bench, including star man Mo Salah, World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister and this season’s standout star Dominik Szoboszlai.

As they did at Wolves, Klopp’s substitutes were inspired, and Salah added the third on 88 minutes after taking on one defender and poking the ball through Lawal’s legs.

Klopp added: ‘People expect us to fly through this competition, it will not happen. We have to dig in.’


LIVERPOOL (4-3-3): Kelleher 7; Bajcetic 5 (Gomez 60, 6), Konate 5 (Matip 81), Van Dijk 6, Tsimikas 5; Endo 5.5 (Mac Allister 60, 6), Gravenberch 7 (Salah 75, 6), Elliott 6.5; Doak 7 (Szoboszlai 60, 6), Nunez 7, Diaz 7.5.

Subs not used: Alisson, Jaros, Jones, Gakpo, Jota, Robertson, Quansah.

Goals: Nunez 56′ (p), Diaz 63′, Salah 88′ 

Booked: Konate, Bajcetic.

Manager: Jurgen Klopp 7.

LASK (3-4-3): Lawal 7; Ziereis 7.5, Andrade 7, Luckender 7 (Darboe 80); Flecker 7 (Ba 88), Horvath 7, Jovicic 6.5, Renner 6 (Bello 88); Havel 6.5 (Mustapha 68, 6), Zulj 5, Ljubicic 6.5 (Kone 69, 6).

Subs not used: Siebenhandl, Talovierov, Balic, Usor, Ljubic, Stojkovic, Goiginger.

Goal: Flecker 14′ 

Booked: Havel, Zulj, Zieries.

Manager: Thomas Sageder 7.5.

Referee: Marco Di Bello (Ita) 6.

Attendance: not given.


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