LASK vs Liverpool
| Thursday, September 21st |
Europa League | Raiffeisen Arena
5:45PM BST / 12:45PM EST
After a stellar start to the Premier League season, Liverpool are set to kick of their European campaign for 2023/34, but this time — and for the first time since Jurgen Klopp’s first year in charge — in the continent’s second-tier competition, as they travel to Austria to take on LASK.
The Linz outfit have had a decent start to the season themselves, and currently sit third in the Austrian Bundesliga, behind the unassailable RB Leipzig and long-time rivals Sturm Graz, having racked up 14 points in their first seven matches.
Die Laskler find themselves in Group E courtesy of a third-round qualifying win over Zrinjski Mostar from Croatia, and will be looking to be the cause of the competition’s first upset of the year, as they host the Reds for the first time ever.
Thomas Sageder will have to make do without Lenny Pintor and Philipp Wiesinger, as well as long-term injury absentees Tobias Anselm and Adil Taoui, but top scorer Robert Zulj and up-and-coming striker Marin Ljubicic are expected to start.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Gomez, Konaté, van Dijk, Robertson; Endō, Jones, Elliott; Jota, Núñez, Salah
With it being early in the season, the squad trying to find rhythm, and Klopp wanting to get off to a strong start in the competition, the expectation is that the Reds will go with a strong XI tomorrow.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is not traveling with the team but is hopeful of being ready to face West Ham at the weekend, meaning Joe Gomez is likely to feature at right-back, with the return of Ibrahima Konaté and Virgil van Dijk in the centre highly plausible, in a bid to get the pair in sync before Sunday’s visit from West Ham.
Thiago is staying home, but the Reds can otherwise show a clean bill of health in midfield, and a start for Wataru Endō is probable. A rest for Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai could be on the cards, with Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott getting starts.
Up top, expect Liverpool to attempt to put their opponents to the sword, handing starts to Diogo Jota and Darwin Núñez, and while Ben Doak is likely to get minutes, Mohamed Salah will never pass up the opportunity to rack up numbers in yet another competition.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “We want to go as far as possible. I would love to go to the final but there will be a lot of fantastic football teams in between us and that target, so we have to make sure we perform.”
Thomas Sageder: “It’s a great honor to play against Liverpool. It’s a very special game but I’m very focused and not so emotional. We have good players too.“
The Officials (ITA)
Referee: Marco Di Bello
Assistant referees: Giorgio Peretti, Giovanni Baccini
Fourth official: Rosario Abisso
VAR: Michael Fabbri, Gianluca Aureliano
Kickoff is set for 5:45PM GMT/12:45PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV.
In the meantime, and as always, we’ll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it’s released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.