Liverpool showed tenacity in coming back from an early deficit to defeat LASK Linz 3-1 in their first Europa League Group E match on Thursday.
Liverpool returned to Europa League play for the first time since 2015-16, when they were defeated 3-1 by Sevilla in the final. However, the English side endured a stiff challenge in the first half from the motivated Austrian hosts, who are now in their third Europa League group stage appearance.
LASK Linz, which is presently third in the Austrian Bundesliga for 2022-23, stunned Liverpool by grabbing the lead in the 14th minute thanks to an outstanding effort by winger Florian Flecker, who connected with a corner and past Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher.
Liverpool had a chance to equalize in the first half when Darwin Nunez attempted a close-range header, but the effort was thwarted by a quick save from LASK goalkeeper Tobias Lawal.
Nunez scored for Juergen Klopp’s squad after the halftime break, comfortably converting a penalty handed to Liverpool when winger Luis Diaz was fouled inside the penalty area.
Diaz doubled Liverpool’s advantage in the 63rd minute, capitalizing on Ryan Gravenberch’s wonderful ball into the area. Just two minutes before the final whistle, substitute Mohamed Salah clinched the victory with a well-placed low goal.
In another Group E match, last season’s quarterfinalists Union Saint-Gilloise held Toulouse to a 1-1 draw at home.
Bayer Leverkusen got off to a fast start, scoring twice in the first 16 minutes to upset Swedish champions Hacken 4-0 at home. Meanwhile, AS Roma, the 2022-23 season’s runners-up, defeated Moldova’s Sheriff Tiraspol 2-1, with Romelu Lukaku scoring.