Liverpool came back from behind to win away at Austrian side LASK on Thursday in their opening Europa League game of the season. After being down at halftime, the Premier League club grabbed multiple second-half goals to take the three points. It was the fourth time that the Reds have conceded first out of six matches during the current campaign.
Jurgen Klopp changed his entire starting lineup for the trip to Austria compared to the team that beat Wolves at the weekend. Among the host of changes was the return of defender Virgil van Dijk. The club captain was able to enter the fray once again after serving a suspension. Summer signing Ryan Gravenberch was also given his full debut with his new team on the night.
Hosts stun Reds with an early goal
LASK jumped out to a surprising early lead after a stunning goal by Florian Flecker in the 14th minute. The goal came from a clever dead-ball routine. Sascha Horvath floated a lofted pass from a corner kick to Flecker at the edge of the Liverpool box. The winger collected the pass and sent a blistering shot into the bottom corner of the net to give the hosts the lead.
The match entered the halftime break with LASK up by the lone goal, but not before some notable incidents. Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez had two solid scoring chances in the period, one from close range. Nevertheless, Tobais Lawal made a spectacular save to deny the Uruguayan. Match referee Marco Di Bello also handed out four yellow cards in the final five minutes of the half. Each team received two cautions during this timeframe.
Liverpool completes second-half Europa comeback with a trio of goals
Liverpool received a lifeline in the 55th minute when Di Bello awarded the Reds a penalty. LASK defender Philipp Ziereis attempted to block a Luis Diaz shot from close range, but instead brought down the attacker. Replays did show that the tackle came after Diaz took the shot. Nevertheless, the Colombian was still bundled over by the defender. Nunez stepped up to take the spot kick and placed the shot just out of reach of the diving Lawal.
After a series of substitutions, the visitors grabbed the lead thanks to a goal by Diaz. Harvey Elliott started the move by playing Gravenberch in out on the right flank. The midfielder then sent in a dangerous cross into the LASK box. Diaz was able to latch on to the pass and emphatically strike the ball into the net. Gravenberch did, however, pick up an injury soon after the goal.
Second-half substitute Mohamed Salah added a third goal for the visitors with just two minutes remaining on the clock. Nunez collected an assist after passing to Salah just inside the LASK box. The Egyptian then raced towards goal and sent a clever low shot through the legs of Lawal.
Klopp will certainly be happy with the three points but may want his team to begin matches a little more confidently from the start. Liverpool is set to host West Ham at Anfield on Sunday, September 24.
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