After stumbling in their last Europa League match against Toulouse, Liverpool remain top of their group and favourites to end the group stage that way but can’t afford another slip when they face LASK on Thursday.
Despite that, it’s still expected that manager Jürgen Klopp will at least rotate his squad somewhat from the weekend, and it could be an opportunity for young players like winger Ben Doak to see competitive action.
“I think I’ve done fairly well,” Doak said of his previous appearances for the senior team this season. “I could have been better in moments in terms of output, getting a goal or an assist, but it’s all part of getting better.
It’s all part of my development, because I can get in the areas, so I just need to start putting the final pieces together. My first start was probably the worst, I was really nervous for that, but any other game I’ve been okay.”
Even if he doesn’t see the pitch on Thursday, though—be it from the start or off the bench—Doak says he’s just enjoying the experience of being on the fringes of the first team and in contention at 18 years of age.
“The player I was this time last year is nowhere near what I am now,” he added. “But that doesn’t mean I stop. I need to just keep going and hopefully I can say the same next year. I’m enjoying just being around it.
“I think anyone of my age is lucky to be around it. I’m just trying to look for minutes when I can get them When you take a step back, you realise, ‘I’m playing at the highest levels you can get.’ It’s a dream come true.”