Liverpool 4 - 0 LASK
Reds: Diaz 12’, Gakpo 16’ 90+2’, Salah 51’ (pen)
A win tonight will, at the very least, guarantee that Liverpool are through to the knockouts. And if the other result goes our way, the final match could be (Fowler willing) a dead rubber. Kloppo sends out a relatively strong team, though not without changes. Captain Mo Salah looks to extend his record of European goals by Premier League players, with Cody Gakpo and Luis Diaz joining him in attack. It’s Enzo, Gravenberch, and Elliott in midfield, and a backline of Gomez, Konate, Quansah, and Tsimikas. Kelleher starts in between the sticks for an injured Alisson Becker.
Liverpool are finding link up in and around the box pretty easy at the moment, but are being let down by their final touch in the opening few minutes. Still it’s perhaps a good sign that they can get in so regularly and easily.
And after a very dominant opening 10 minutes, Luis Diaz scores the opener with a phenomenal diving header. The Colombian striker started the move with a smart switch, picking out Joe Gomez, who sent in a cross to about 4 Reds who were lining up to take the effort.
A few minutes later, Gakpo doubles the lead after Mo unselfishly tees him up for a tap in at the back post.
It remained one-way traffic throughout the half, with the hosts leading the xG 1.70 to 0.02. If anything, Liverpool were a bit wasteful throughout the half, but if there’s a time to be wasteful, it’s when you’re already leading by a couple of goals. As things stand, the Reds will top the group with one match remaining.
Liverpool start the second half as they left it, and then went and killed any semblance of a contest by winning a penalty. Mo stepped up and blasted it into the corner, leaving the keeper no chance (despite him not moving at all). Klopp then responds by bringing on a trio of subs: Darwin, Trent, and Curtis Jones on for Mo, Luis Diaz, and Konate. Stop, Kloppo, they’re already dead.
With about 10 to go, Klopp makes his final two subs of the night, bringing on youth players Conor Bradley and Luke Chambers for Ryan Gravenberch and Kostas Tsimikas.
Although he’s not had a lot to do, backup keeper Kelleher has had a great match, and come up when needed on a couple of occasions.
Liverpool did the thing, and Toulouse didn’t do theirs. So, the Reds are through, and through top, with one to play.