This Thursday evening, Liverpool will be embarking on their Europa League journey against the Austrian side, LASK Linz, marking their return to the UEFA’s secondary tournament since 2016. The significant group stage match-up will be hosted at the Raiffeisen Arena in Linz, kicking off at 17:45 UK time on September 21, 2023. As Liverpool seeks to reclaim their dominant stature in European football, this encounter could signal the onset of an intense campaign for both teams, laden with opportunities and challenges.
Coming off a commendable performance in the previous season, LASK Linz, under the stewardship of Thomas Sageder, has managed to emerge as a formidable force in the Austrian football landscape. Their impressive run, unfortunately, met an abrupt end, finishing seven points behind the indomitable Red Bulls. Despite the hiccup, they have managed to secure their place in the Europa League, showcasing their mettle by winning against Bosnian side Zrinjski 3-2 on aggregate. However, their journey doesn’t seem to be a smooth one, with a series of injuries sidelining key players like Philipp Wiesinger, Lenny Pintor, Adil Taoui, and Tobias Anselm. The potential absence of summer signing, Ebrima Darboe, further adds to their woes.
On the other side of the pitch, Liverpool, under the charismatic leadership of Jurgen Klopp, are looking to reclaim their top-tier status in European football. The Reds have been a consistent presence in elite European competitions, but their fifth-place finish in the Premier League last season saw them relegated to the Europa League. Despite the setback, Liverpool has demonstrated their characteristic resilience, entering the competition on a four-match winning streak, with their most recent victory being a 3-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers. Their attack has been nothing short of lethal, bagging at least three goals in three of their last four outings, indicating their hungry stance for this campaign.
Liverpool’s defence will be significantly bolstered with the return of captain Virgil van Dijk, who was absent in their last fixture due to suspension. However, concerns linger over Trent Alexander-Arnold’s availability owing to a hamstring injury, possibly giving Joe Gomez another chance to prove his worth at the right-back position. Thiago Alcantara’s uncertain return adds a bit of cloudiness to their midfield setup.
As these two teams gear up to clash for the first time on a competitive stage, it promises to be a battle of grit and determination, with both teams eager to make a mark early on in the competition.
Goal.mu predicts: LASK Linz 1-3 Liverpool
Liverpool appears to have the upper hand, given their recent form and the depth of talent in their roster. The Reds are likely to continue their attacking spree, potentially overpowering a LASK side grappling with injuries and fitness concerns. The Austrian side, although spirited, may find it challenging to contain Liverpool’s attacking prowess, thus making the Premier League side the favourites to secure a comfortable victory in this opening fixture.Important Notice for All Readers:
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