LASK vs Liverpool Match Analysis & Prediction
21/09/2023 7:45 pm
The road to Dublin begins on Thursday for Liverpool, who travel to the Raiffeisen Arena to face Austrian side LASK Linz in their opening Europa League Group E match.
The Reds were demoted to this competition on account of their fifth-placed Premier League finish last season, while the hosts overcame Zrinjski Mostar 3-2 in qualifying to extend their continental campaign.
The third-placed Linz crop entered the preliminary rounds of the Europa League at the final hurdle, where Bosnian underdogs Zrinjski were bested 3-2 by Thomas Sageder’s side.
The one-time Austrian champions may fancy their chances of pipping fellow Group E rivals Toulouse and Union SG to one of the top two spots in the section – with second place guaranteeing a spot in the knockout round playoffs – as LASK enter Thursday’s opener unbeaten in seven competitive matches.
On Saturday, LASK made it three league wins in a row with a 3-1 victory away to Austria Klagenfurt, while they have also prevailed in each of their last four matches at the Raiffeisen Arena, scoring two goals on each occasion and shipping just one in the process.
The calibre of opposition will increase significantly when an in-form Liverpool come to town, having seen their six-year run of successive Champions League qualifications come to a disappointing end in 2022-23.
It was fitting that serial Europa League winner Unai Emery would be the one to consign Liverpool to his favoured competition for the first time since the 20-15-16 season, as a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa killed off any wafer-thin hopes the Reds had of sneaking into the top four.
The six-time Champions League winners regularly stepped out to the Europa League anthem between 2010 and 2016 and even reached the final in the latter year, only to fall to Sevilla’s superiority, but Jurgen Klopp’s side are already the bookies’ favourite to hoist the trophy aloft at the Aviva Stadium.
The Reds extended their winning run to four matches at the weekend by coming from behind to prevail for the third time this season, beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-1 through Cody Gakpo, Andy Robertson and Hugo Bueno own goal, thereby cementing a third-place ranking in the Premier League table at this early stage.
Liverpool are now without defeat in 16 competitive matches on the bounce amid their bid to seal an immediate return to the Champions League, which they could either achieve with a top-four finish or by going all the way in the Europa League, adding another continental honour to their cabinet in the process.
LASK vs. Liverpool Head to head
This will be the first meeting between these two teams.
LASK Team News
Several injured LASK players have not been included in the squad for the Europa League group stage, including Tobias Anselm, Yannis Letard and Adil Taoui, all three of whom are out with ACL problems.
Winger Lenny Pintor is also absent with a muscular problem, while Japanese winger Keito Nakamura left to join the Reims revolution in France.
LASK's Last 5 Matches
06/09/2023LASK5Ceske Budejovice4Club Friendlies
Liverpool Team News
Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk is now available for selection once more following a two-game domestic ban, but his lieutenant – Trent Alexander-Arnold – is still dealing with a hamstring problem.
Luckless midfielder Thiago Alcantara suffered a setback in his recovery from a hip problem before the international break and is expected to miss out as well.
Liverpool's Last 5 Matches
19/08/2023Liverpool3AFC Bournemouth1Premier League
27/08/2023Newcastle United1Liverpool2Premier League
03/09/2023Liverpool3Aston Villa0Premier League
16/09/2023Wolverhampton Wanderers1Liverpool3Premier League
LASK vs. Liverpool: Odds and Predictions
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