Liverpool 4 – 0 LASK – The Postmortem
This was a perfect bounce back victory, after the disastrous 2-3 loss away to Toulouse in the previous Group E round of games. A strong and vital performance (drawing away to Manchester City) was undertaken after the most recent international break, therefore, the strong line up for the visit of LASK was clearly an indication that the Reds’ German manager wanted his players primed for the hectic Christmas schedule that was forthcoming.
The lineup is listed below, with subsequent in-game changes, as well as match stats.
The Starting Eleven
- Caoimhin Kelleher
- Jarell Quansah
- Ibrahima Konaté
- Joe Gomez
- Kostas Tsimikas
- Wataru Endō
- Ryan Gravenberch
- Harvey Elliott
- Mohamed Salah (c)
- Cody Gakpo
- Luis Díaz
- Trent Alexander Arnold – Ibrahima Konaté (56 mins)
- Curtis Jones – Mohamed Salah (56 mins)
- Darwin Núñez – Luis Díaz (56 mins)
- Conor Bradley – Ryan Gravenberch (82 mins)
- Luke Chambers – Kostas Tsimikas (82 mins)
- Liverpool 1 – 0 LASK: Luis Díaz (Joe Gomez) 12 mins
- Liverpool 2 – 0 LASK: Cody Gakpo (Mohamed Salah) 15 mins
- Liverpool 3 – 0 LASK: Mohamed Salah (Penalty) 50 mins
- Liverpool 4 – 0 LASK: Cody Gakpo (Penalty) 90+2 mins
Important Match Stats
- Possession: Liverpool 61% – 39% LASK
- Total Shots: Liverpool 25 – 5 LASK
- Corner Kicks: Liverpool 8 – 6 LASK
The First Half
The opening period of this game was a frenzy of attacking intent from the home side, as the gamble of playing so many first-team assets was very quickly proved correct. LASK could not handle the threat and pace of Liverpool’s swarming attack, with two quick-fire goals coming by way of a well-headed Luis Díaz effort (assisted by a Joe Gomez cross), before an easy tap-in by Cody Gakpo just three minutes later, courtesy of Mohamed Salah. Throughout the exhilarating first half of football, the Austrian Bundesliga side had their fair share of counter-attacking openings, yet were unable to convert any chances. Mohamed Salah was close to his devilish best and was often unplayable against a defensive unit that looked strained and overwhelmed. The Egyptian King was determined to continually drive into the opposition third, which was mirrored by the maverick nature of his Colombian teammate, Luis Díaz. As the electric movement caught fire on the wings, Cody Gakpo played an intelligent and intricate-based role in between, which showed glimpses of the previous false nine, Roberto Firmino.
Harvey Elliott was extremely impressive, as he took on the role of playmaker and controller, whereas Ryan Gravenberch looked to stride forward with the ball at every opportunity. Kostas Tsimikas carried his solid weekend performance into this game, as he and Joe Gomez offered a variety of support to the forward-thinking assets ahead. In a couple of outrageous and separate moments, each player nearly scored from distance, something that would have elevated the loud and excited crowd even more so. Though the two first-half goals came so early on, somehow the visitors managed to rally and keep the Anfield giants at bay for the remainder of the opening 45 minutes.
Fun game. Quansah good again in this competition.
But best thing we now have a dead rubber in the 6th game and avoid 2 extra games by missing round of 32. Job well done all round 👏 #lfc
— Conor Bradley Fan Account (@DanKennett) November 30, 2023
The Second Half
On resumption of the second half, there was a sense that Mohamed Salah would be given a short period to get his goal, before the changes started coming. It did not take long to craft an opportunity for their captain on the night, as some smart movement by Cody Gakpo forced the opposing keeper into a penalty-evoking foul. As expected, the Reds’ legendary scorer stepped up and fired an unstoppable strike into the bottom corner. Just prior to this, Wataru Endō had seen his own long-distance shot nearly fly into the net, to compound a joyous evening of football that was unfolding.
From this point onwards, Liverpool’s stand-in keeper, Caoimhin Kelleher, was able to flex his goalkeeping muscles as the away side threatened to grab a deserved consolation. You could see the confidence build through a busy second half, as each save and interception had the Irishman visibly grow in stature. The raft of changes created chances at both ends of the field, as the game flowed under the famous European lights. It would be the fourth and final goal of the night which was the pick of the bunch, as an enthusiastic Trent Alexander Arnold assisted Cody Gakpo to fire an unstoppable shot into the far corner.
With that, the game ended and Liverpool strode into the knockout stage of The Europa League, as the team that everyone left standing will want to avoid.
What Are My Final Thoughts…?
To see another good performance unfold is delightful and well-timed at the start of the frenetic Christmas period. Rotation, fatigue, poor form, good form, and multiple injuries, are all likely scenarios in the next month, as December now commences. Fulham are the visitors to Anfield this Sunday, which now begs the question to the Reds’ German manager.
Who now starts in this weekend’s first-team elite…?
— AnfieldIndex (@AnfieldIndex) November 30, 2023
Pre-game prediction: Liverpool 5-1 LASK