Liverpool begin their Europa League campaign away in Linz tonight as they take on Austrian side LASK.
- These two sides have never faced each other before
- Liverpool have won four and drawn one in the Premier League so far
- Jurgen Klopp will likely rotate his starting lineup for this match
Liverpool return to the Europa League for the first time since they lost the 2016 final to Sevilla in Jurgen Klopp's first season in charge. Such has been the German's consistency in charge at Anfield that they have not played in UEFA's second tier competition since. They wlll be favourites to win the trophy this season and opponents like LASK should be brushed aside with ease.
After a slightly rocky start to their domestic campaign, LASK come into this game on the back of four consecutive league wins. They also managed to sneak past Bosnian side Zrinjski 3-2 on aggregate in a playoff to reach this group stage. The Linz natives can take some confidence from their early season form but it shouldn't factor into the outcome of this game too much.
An out-of-sorts Liverpool would be favoured to pump Linz tonight, so what chance do the Austrians have against Klopp's side in good form? Very little. Five games isn't quite enough to guage exactly how they are going to get on but Liverpool look to be ready to at least put up a creditable challenge to Pep Guardiola's unstoppable Man City machine.
Four wins and a draw from five Premier League games, in a run which included opponents like Newcastle and Chelsea, will please Jurgen Klopp immensely. His side's ability to score three goals in three of those five games is also a strong signal that their attacking powers are clicking and firing.
These two teams have never met in competitive action before.
The hosts will be without Adil Taoui, Tobias Anselm and Yannis Letard, all through ACL injuries, while Lenny Pintor will also miss out due to a muscle issue.
Liverpool will have to live without Trent Alexander-Arnold, who is struggling with a hamstring problem. He could return at the weekend or next week but won't feature in Linz.
The ever-injured Thiago Alcantara remains out with a hip injury.
Aside from these few injury concerns, LASK are likely to play their strongest possible lineup, while Klopp looks to rotate and rest key players.
We could see the likes of Mohamed Salah, Virgil Van Dijk and Allison left on the bench to recuperate for this weekend's Premier League exertions.
This could open the door for fringe players like Joe Gomez, Kostas Tsimikas and Harvey Elliot, as well as emerging youngsters like Jarell Quansah and Ben Doak.
Striker Robert Žulj has scored three goals in LASK's opening seven league games and looks to be their biggest threat.
Liverpool have a laundry list of players capable of tearing apart their Austrian opponents tonight. Summer signing Ryan Gravenberch will probably get a start here and look to impose himself on the game from midfield.
There is very little cause for optimism for an upset here. Liverpool should utterly bulldozer their opponents tonight. Anything other than a high scoring battering from the away side would be quite surprising.